Monthly Archives: January 2015

Too strange NOT to tell: The Transfiguration

Learn the story of the transfiguration, or simply watch the video and do the “Ways to Wonder” exercises near the end of the post.

And be sure to check out Story Divine to hear more stories from the lectionary, along with personal storytelling prompts!

WATCH and WONDER

Matthew 17:1-9
The Story of the Transfiguration
as told by MaryAnn McKibben Dana

The transfiguration story is a strange one indeed. Many people have wondered what to make of this story. Storytelling the transfiguration is a wonderful way to connect with the story and to draw others into the experience on the mountain. Who knows–maybe we will be transfigured in the telling! I challenge to you to tell the transfiguration story BY HEART on Transfiguration Sunday this year. Here is a link to the text courtesy of gotell.org!

WONDER WORDS

Tranfiguration is the “act of being transfigured.” To be “transfigured” is to “change in outward appearance; transform” or “to change so as to glorify or exalt.” (dictionary.com) In this story, Jesus is transfigured on the mountain. What does the story say that transfiguration looked like?

Learn it BY HEART

1) As you are working on learning the story, considering using this Retell Wheel (just click the link)–especially if you are learning with the younger set. Just click on the wheel and answer the questions!

2) Divide your text into EPISODES. Episodes are “chunks of the story that are unified by a theme or an image,” (Story Journey, 13). Name each episode. The names for each episode should be brief (1-3 words) and easily understood. Write the names on the margin next to each episode. Choose episode names that will help you recall the content of the episode. When you are ready to tell the story, fold your paper over and see if you can tell it!

3) MAP IT OUT! On a piece of paper, map out the story. Where are Jesus, James, John, and Peter? Where do Elijah and Moses appear? Which way do they go up the mountain? Down? Where is the cloud? Where are you? Once you have mapped it out on paper, try to SEE IT in your mind. Now tell the story. (Hopefully you’ll begin to ask yourself lots of questions about location. For instance, where are you looking when you are Peter talking to Jesus?)

WAYS to WONDER

1) What would it have been like to see Jesus so transformed? Imagine the brightness. Is it blinding? Soft? Inviting? Harsh? Spend a few minutes just picturing that part of the scene. Now tell the first episode.

2) Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” Tell a story about an experience you did not want to end. Why was it so good?

Remember to flesh the story out by thinking of the KEYS TO THE STORY:
Where were you? (Consider the sights, smells, sounds, etc.)
Who was there?
What were you (or others) feeling at the time? Thinking? Has that changed over time?
What actions occurred?
Did you have a sense of God in the moment? Has that changed over time?

MORE to TELL

Watch MaryAnn’s brief commentary on the experience of telling the transfiguration story!

And be sure to check out MaryAnn’s amazing blog, The Blue Room. MaryAnn is a pastor in the PC(USA), blogger, and the author of Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family’s Experiment with Holy Time. (Put this book on your to-read list–it is amazing.) Here is a recent piece she wrote about Faith and Wonder!

SNEAK PREVIEW: Story Divine

Get ready for Story Divine–the latest ministry from Faith and Wonder! Though the official launch of the podcast and website are a few weeks away, I wanted to give you a sneak preview. Each week will feature a biblical story (taken from the upcoming lectionary* readings for the following Sunday), as well as some reflections and personal storytelling prompts.

The site is being tweaked, intro music is being created, and I am getting excited!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…

STORY DIVINE

Children’s

EPISODE 1: Vision Problems
1 Samuel 3:1-20

 

 

*Don’t know what the lectionary is? You’re not alone! Here is info from the Vanderbuilt Divinity Library site:

  • What is the Revised Common Lectionary?

    The Revised Common Lectionary is a three-year cycle of weekly lections used to varying degrees by the vast majority of mainline Protestant churches in Canada and the United States. The RCL is built around the seasons of the Church Year, and includes four lections for each Sunday, as well as additional readings for major feast days. During most of the year, the lections are: a reading from the Hebrew Bible, a Psalm, a reading from the Epistles, and a Gospel reading. During the season of Easter, the Hebrew Bible lection is usually replaced with one from the Acts of the Apostles. The lections from the Hebrew Bible are sometimes chosen from the Apocrypha.

    The seasons of the Church Year reflect the life of Christ. Consequently, the gospel lections for each Sunday provide the focus for that day. The other lections for a given day generally have a thematic relationship to the gospel reading for that day, although this is not always the case. In Ordinary Time, the Revised Common Lectionary offers two sets of readings for the lessons from the Hebrew Bible. One set proceeds semicontinuouly, giving the story of the Patriarchs and the Exodus in Year A, the monarchial narratives in Year B, and readings from the Prophets in Year C. In the other set of readings for Ordinary Time (shown in italics on this site) the readings from the Hebrew Bible are thematically related to the gospel lections. Denominations or local churches generally use either the semicontinuous readings or the thematic readings during Ordinary Time. They do not typically move back and forth between the two over the course of a single season.

    The gospel readings for each year come from one of the synoptic gospels according to the following pattern:

    • Year A – Matthew
    • Year B – Mark
    • Year C – Luke

    Readings from the Gospel of John can be found throughout the RCL.

Something Lent-ish This Way Comes…

While it feels we’re hardly out of Advent, I know many churchy types are thinking about Lent. HERE is a round-up of what we did last year with story videos and worship stations. I will be posting more ideas for this year’s lectionary-related story stations in the coming days. Stay tuned!

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