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Breaking the Fourth Wall

Cinema has a technique called ‘breaking the fourth wall.’ It happens when a character turns to the camera and interacts directly with the audience. Think Ferris’ Bueller’s Day Off. It is often a moment of clarity or explanation. It is a moment that breaks with convention when we are invited directly into the story. It can be engaging, if not a bit shocking.

The Transfiguration of Jesus is a strange story that appears in the middle of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Jesus on a mountain with the inner circle of his disciples- Peter, James, and John- becomes dazzlingly white and speaks to Elijah and Moses. It is a strange story told without explanation.

The Transfiguration has always struck me as an event that breaks the fourth wall. The curtain gets pulled back for a moment of clarity. The disciples (and us by extension) see things as they really are. Engaging, if not a bit shocking.

Sometimes we too need a moment of clarity. Sometimes we need a break in the story to catch our breath, to see things as they really are. Sometimes we need a peek behind the curtain.

This Sunday, we celebrate the event of the Transfiguration as we consider Matthew’s telling of the event. Each year the Transfiguration comes to us on the final Sunday before Lent. Perhaps this is the clarity we need to step into the penitential season. Perhaps this will be the break in the fourth wall for which we long.  

Join us in worship as we peek behind the curtain.

Posted by Scott Hovey with


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