Grace Heimerdinger-Baake, Ankeny, IA

Warm-up Question

Have you ever transformed garbage into precious pieces of art? If so, what have you made and what did you use to craft the masterpiece.If you have not, what is stopping you from turning trash into treasures? 


A recent article tells how a visitors’ information center in Kathmandu, Nepal is collecting trash from Mount Everest and is transforming the waste into art. Foreign and local artists transform the used oxygen bottles, torn tents, ropes, broken ladders, cans, and plastic into unique masterpieces. 

The information center displays the art with the hope of not only raising environmental awareness, but also generating employment and income. Proceeds raised from the art gallery will go towards conservation efforts in the region. 

Discussion Questions

  • How would you transform the climbers’ waste into art? What waste materials would you use to craft the unexpected treasure?
  • What other solutions exist in safety disposing the garbage from the climbers?
  • How can you up-cycle the waste you and your family produce? 

Transfiguration of Our Lord

2 Kings 2:1-12

2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Mark 9:2-9

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

This Sunday is the story of the transfiguration of Jesus. Leading up to this important event, Jesus has been very busy. He finished feeding a multitude of people, cured a blind man in Bethsaida, and had a deep conversation about his upcoming death with his disciples. 

After all that, Jesus goes on a hike with three of his closest friends, Peter, James, and John. One might think this is a chance for Jesus to rest. Instead, Jesus transfigures (changes in form and appearance). Not only does Jesus’ appearance change, he is joined by Moses and Elijah. And then, God speaks, “This is my son, the Beloved; listen to him.”  

Peter, James, and John have just observed their friend transform into something unimaginable. It is only rational for Peter to express the desire to make three homes, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. He wants to preserve what he had just witnessed.

We know what the disciples may not have known at the time: the man who they went up the mountains with is the same man with the dazzling white clothes. Although Jesus’ appearance had changed, he was the same man, the same man whom the disciples witnessed feeding people, healing the sick, and walking on water. The transfiguration gives the disciples and us a new way of seeing and hearing Jesus.  

After coming down the mountain, Jesus commands his disciples to tell no one (including the other disciples) what had transpired until “the Son of Man had risen from the dead.” 

Mark’s gospel continues on from the transfiguration with additional accounts of Jesus teaching, healing, and foretelling his death and resurrection. The transfiguration simultaneously leaves Jesus changed and unchanged. 

The mountain waste in Nepal undergoes a transfiguration similar to that of Jesus. It begins as something ordinary, having served the needs of climbers, and acquires deeper significance and beauty.  The physical appearance is altered and the transfigured items provide for the needs of the native people. 

Discussion Questions

  • When you hear the story of the transfiguration, what images jump out to you? 
  • As the disciples and Jesus hike down from the mountain, Jesus orders them not to tell anyone what they have seen. Why do you think Jesus wants them to keep it a secret until after his death and resurrection? 
  • On the mountain, the disciples are told to listen to Jesus. How do you and I listen to him? What role do the gospel stories play in shaping how we listen to him?

Activity Suggestions

Option 1: At the Transfiguration, the disciples are reminded that this event isn’t the end of the story; more is to come and they need to continue to listen to Jesus. A fun activity about a story’s continuation, and about our listening skills, is called One Word At A Time. This activity is best played between 2 to 8 people. 

Introduce the activity by telling the players they are going to create a story that’s never been told before, and this story will be created one word at time. Ask a player to share the title of this story and begin with the first word of the story. Continue going around the room with each player adding a word to the story. It is important to stay focused on the story as a whole while remaining relaxed and ready for your turn. 

Option 2: We don’t need to see new things. We need to see the old things with new eyes. Gather and clean waste items and transform the items into something useful or into art. While transforming, keep in mind that the milk jug you are using, is still a milk jug. You are just seeing it under new eyes.

Closing Prayer

Loving God, you led Jesus and his disciples up the mountain for his transfiguration, and there you commanded the disciples to listen to him. Open our ears and our hearts to always listen to Jesus.  May we be attentive to the cross as we prepare to embark on the season of Lent.  Amen.