The Rev. Chris Christy
2 Kings 2:1-12; Psalm 50:1-62; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Mark 9:2-9
“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen”
Our Gospel Reading today focuses on the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, his change in appearance to a glowing brilliant white. Is this Transfiguration really about Jesus and his transformation in appearance? No, there is more going on here that is unspoken. We need to look deeper into the meaning of this event and ask ourselves why Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the mountain top.
We know this event took place “about 8 days” after the Confession of Peter, Jesus’ first passion prediction, and his admonitions about following him. This is important background as Luke stated that the transfiguration took place “after these sayings.”
Peter, James, and John witnessed and heard the Power of our Lord and for a few minutes they saw the “Glory and Reward” of being a faithful servant that one-day they would receive. Seeing Moses and Elijah, both who had died hundreds of years previously, standing and speaking to Jesus once again, gave them safety and peace in knowing that all true believers who had passed from this human world would someday rise in Glory.
The Transfiguration of our Lord is something that can be transferred to us and that we can be transformed by it. John the Baptist saw the radiance of our Lord, he saw the glory of God shinning as bright as anything he had seen in his life and was able to follow in the recognition that Christ was the chosen one, serving and ministering in Christ’s name. We too are part of that glorious light.
So how does the “Transfiguration” of Jesus impact our life and how can we “Transform” our life to receive the Glory of God? ………. We need to understand that today’s Gospel reading gives us insight into the glory which Christ will have at “His” second coming. The Lord allowed his disciples to witness this incredible vision to encourage and strengthen them in their belief that if they submit themselves to follow Christ and his teachings, they too will be saved.
So how can we have that “Mountain Top Experience”? What do you and I need to change in this life to attain the Glory of God? ……….. Every one of us, who loves and worships God through Jesus Christ, is already showing his glory. “We”, with unveiled faces, all reflect the Lord’s Glory and are being transformed into his glory. Whether you recognize it or not, even whether you dare to believe it or not, you and I are already reflecting God’s glory to all those we meet, simply by being faithful. However strong or weak we think our faith is we are already “Beacons” of God’s glory. We do this without the need of climbing to a Mountain Top.
There are times in our lives when we look around and wonder, Is this all there is?…….. We look at our life, our circumstances, and we want more. We become restless, start searching and longing for something more. Sometimes this searching and seeking can make us do some really crazy things like quit a long time “good paying” job, buy a new car we can’t afford, seeking greener pastures in a new relationship, or worse yet seek unhealthy behaviors to bury our pain. This uneasiness is not about the circumstances occurring within our life, it is about, “US”. We fall into that trap where life becomes superficial and we are living life only on the surface without any depth or meaning. We seek rewards and desperately want an easy way of living. The real problem is our superficial life begins to fail because we have become prisoners to the circumstances and begin to blame or question others and God for our difficulties.
We begin to wonder why God would allow us to experience the hurt and failures of life. We want God to show up, be present, and do something. We want something new to happen in our life, and if God could only make this happen, life would be good again. But we do not need “New Things” to happen we just need to see the “same old things” through new eyes. We need to “Transform” what we see and hear and be more present and stop living on the surface of life. We need to seek God within the unpleasant circumstances and open up our “window of vision” and our “ears”. By trusting in others and having faith in God will allow us to hear and see what God is trying to tell us.
On our Mount of Transfiguration our pictures of life’s circumstances become windows through which we step into a new world, a new way of seeing, a new way of hearing, and a new way of being.
I think this is what happened for Peter, James, and John. Jesus did not suddenly light up and become something he was not. No, the disciple’s eyes were healed and opened so they could see Jesus as he had always been. The voice in the cloud was not new. Their ears were opened, and they heard the voice that has never ceased speaking from the beginning. The transfiguration is as much about them as it is about Jesus. Whenever our picture of life’s circumstances becomes “a window into a new life” we stand in a transfigured life moment. Circumstances do not change. We have a life change (or transformed) and that seems to change everything.
Recently I experienced the transfiguration and transformation of lives changed here at St. Luke’s. A member of our congregation called asking if I knew someone who needed transportation. He had a vehicle that was in good condition that he no longer needed. He was not looking to sell it, he wanted to help another person in need. The name of a person whom I have been working with for about 3 years came to mind. This person had faced homelessness that was out of his control. He has worked hard over the past 3 years to save for a place to live, find a job, and has never complained about walking miles to get to where he was going.
About 4 weeks ago these two were able come together. Watching from a distance in the parking lot of this church I witnessed the Light of God at work. I watched two grown men jumping up and down hugging each other. Both were so excited; the “Giver” was transfigured by the opportunity of helping another in need, and the “Receiver” was transformed in the realization of God’s love at work. Witnessing that “Transfiguration” moment and watching the “Light of God” at work through his children was amazing.
Transfigured moments are all around us. Every one of us could tell a story about stepping back from the picture of our life, seeing with new eyes, listening with different ears, and discovering a window that opened into another’s world, transforming into another way of being. As we “Transform” ourselves into our Faith in God, it can be difficult to notice how we change.
God is at work often hidden and even during mundane moments. In today’s world we live in a culture that is too busy to see or hear God. Our view of the world has curtained him off from sight. As Christians we are called to show the “Bright, Glistening Light” of Jesus and share the Glory of God to those around us. By doing so we can help others see through the “difficult windows” of human life. Through pain we can be the “light” to open other’s eyes into the world of the Spirit, and experience the love, grace, and forgiveness of God.
Transfigured moments change us, sustain us, prepare us, encourage us, and guide us into the future regardless of the circumstances we face. These moments show us who we are. “We” are the transfigured people of God. Open your eyes and see a transfigured world. Open your ears and hear the transfiguring voice. Open your heart and experience a “Transformed” life.