Sermon – 02-19-23 – Transfiguration – Cycle B
Scripture: Exodus 24:12-18, Psalm 2, 2 Peter1:16-21, Matthew 17:1-9
Sermon: “Fellowship in the Light”
Transfigured! What is that? Is it the same as Transformation? One definition of transfiguration is a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. One definition of transformation is a complete change in the appearance or character of something or someone, especially so that thing or person is improved.
Have you known anyone who became transfigured in your presence? I have not seen this myself, but I was told about a light around a person’s head who was playing sacred music in a worship setting. Have you ever felt transfigured or transformed?
In our lessons today we have the “appearance of the glory of the Lord being like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.” Did you notice that it does not say, “the appearance of the Lord?” It says, “appearance of the glory of the Lord.” When Jesus, the Son person of God, walked on earth, we saw a man. We don’t see the Father person of Jesus, we don’t see the Holy Spirit person of God. Instead we feel what they do, we feel their presence, we can see what all three persons of God do together.
We can be transforrmed/transfigured by God. It is something God can do for us. It may be scary. We may like ourselves just as we are. But, hold the scary. Let’s look at a few more transformations in the Bible. Our lesson today from Exodus does not talk about the glory of the Lord being passed to Moses. We have another passage of scripture that tells about Moses coming down the mountain with the Ten Commandments and his face was glowing so terrifically that he had to cover his face to protect the Israelites from the brightness.
Then we have Jesus. We have this story of Jesus being transfigured. From Christmas to Lent we hear much about light. Light seems like a good thing. Just to let you know, recently, religious writers are re-thinking about our emphasis on light being good. I am reading about the goodness of darkness as a place where God also resides and heals and comforts. Be that as it may, we are saturated with the idea that the light of God is an outstanding gift to us. Finally, on this last day of Epiphany – the time between Christmas and Lent – we have this Sunday called Transfiguration Sunday when we have this story of Jesus being transfigured with extreme brightness, holy brightness.
This story, or account, at the end of Epiphany is like the biggest and best fireworks on the 4th of July. Guess who Jesus takes with him to witness this happening. Yes, Peter, James, and John, the three disciples who seem to be the favored disciples. But two more characters from several thousand years earlier appear briefly. Moses of the bright light and the commandments and Elijah, the great prophet. Someone in our Bible Study this past week, asked how Moses and Elijah were recognized since photography had not yet been invented in the time of Moses and Elijah or even the time of Jesus on earth. Another member of our Bible Study group did some quick research and could share with us several possibilities, one being that maybe Jesus called them by name. Then again, maybe God inspires the three disciples so they just knew. Jesus becomes transfigured with startling brightness! The voice of the Father is heard saying, “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” The disciples become afraid and close their eyes. Jesus tells them not to be afraid.
Compulsive Peter does not miss an opportunity to offer a silly suggestion. He thinks that little shelters should be built for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus to stay in that scene forever. Jesus hardly hears Peter. There is no standing still for Jesus. Moses and Elijah disappear as quickly as they came. Jesus knows there are plans for himself and the three disciples. There is going to be some transformation work ahead. But, Jesus does not want anyone else to know now what had just happened. As the four men are leaving the mountain of Transfiguration, Jesus says to the other three, “Do not tell anyone what you have just seen!” Well, to have compulsive and vocal Peter not tell about this event is transformation number one!
Now we are getting to the possibilities of our transformations. Maybe you have already had a noticeable transformation. Maybe you accepted Jesus as your Savior at a special moment or over several days. Maybe you hit bottom with an addiction or with another seemingly unsolvable problem and you handed things from your shoulders to the shoulders of Jesus. Transformation! Life changed. Maybe you were praying for someone and the person’s problem was lessened or disappeared. Transformation! Maybe you were just lonely and then God sent a friend. The world seemed different. Transformation!
Maybe you could not find time to be alone and you desperately needed to be alone. Then God opened a window of sacred “down” time and you felt refreshed. Transformation!
We feel led by God to allow him a window here at the United Church of Christ of Robesonia to transform us in little and big ways. Regular worship is great. But there are more possibilities to feel God’s presence among us – to feel the Holy Spirit blowing around with a little breeze or a mighty wind. May we find light where there shall be light, but silence with each other in dimmer light if that is what God knows we need at this time.
As we study the brochure about small groups we will see the endless possibilities for opening the window for God to pop in and be among us. These are not forever groups. Try one. Stay for awhile. Stay longer or move on to another group. Or speak to me about developing a group. Two that I neglected to mention are a prayer group and a diet group. Even though I was thinking of these two groups as separate groups, we do know that dieting works better with prayer.
Let’s look at the brochure please. If you did not receive one when you entered would you please raise your hand so someone could bring one to you. Brochure
Let us pray. Dearest Jesus of the blinding light, may we be transforrmed with the experience of small groups here in our congregation. We can ask our friends who don’t go to church to join our group. Help us to share the fellowship and the light and remove our apprehension of silence and dimness as we walk together to bring each other into a wonderful relationship with our loving God. Thank you, Jesus. Amen