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Today is the last Sunday of Epiphany and is also known as Transfiguration Sunday.
Transfiguration is another word for Transformation.
I have a little story of transformation to get us thinking in the right vein
Story of the fish.
So that’s a little fish story to get us thinking about Transformation.
Of course the whole season of Epiphany speaks to us of Transformation.
It speaks to us of new ways of seeing and thinking about things.
We think of things one way but are there other ways of seeing them.
The disciples initially encountered Jesus as a flesh and blood human being.
They were with him every day.
During the season of Epiphany we’ve been reading about moments of understanding, those “ah ha” moments, when they keep getting glimpses of who he really is.
We started with the 3 Kings arriving at the cradle….bearing gifts fit for a king.
Imagine the astonishment of the inn keeper and the villagers as the parade comes into town to visit a family whose baby has been born in a stable and whose crib is a manger.
Surely there were some “ah ha” moments then.
Then we heard the account of Jesus’ Baptism in the river Jordan.
That moment when John publicly tells everyone that this is the promised one, the one mightier than him who has come to Baptise with fire and the holy spirit.
We read the accounts of him calling his disciples by the sea side.
That was a moment when they suddenly realized that this was their destiny to follow this charismatic Rabbi because there was something so compelling and life changing about this person.
It was their first “ah ha” moment.\
We followed their progress around the area of Galilee as he heals and preaches and touches people with his compassion and love.
Last Sunday we read about his need to pray and be alone with God and recharge his spiritual energies.
And today we come to this final “ah ha” this final Epiphany story which is kind of the granddaddy of them all.
Jesus and three of his disciples went up a mountain to pray.
As Jesus prays, he continues to prepare himself for the events that lie ahead him, his trip up the road to Jerusalem, his trip towards the cross that he has told his disciples awaits him in the Holy City.
As Jesus prays something inexplicable happens to him -his countenance, and even the robe he is wearing, begins to glow until it is a dazzling white.
The disciples witness an amazing transformation.
Suddenly Jesus is shining like the sun.
With him they see two men talking with him who they identify as – Moses the law-giver, and Elijah the prophet.
Imagine the emotions and thoughts running through their heads
They must have been full of fright, full of awe, full of joy at what they see.
Peter seems overwhelmed and tries to capture the moment, he says to Jesus, “It is good for us to be here, let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah…”
It’s such a momentous experience that Peter wants to immortalize it and hang onto it forever.
Have you ever had those moments?
When things seem so good, so right, that you just don’t want them to stop?
But even as he says this a heavy cloud sweeps over the mountain, obscuring his view – and the view of the other disciples – and plunges them into fear again.
And in this cloud , Peter and James and John hear a clear thunderous voice;
“This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him”
And then as quickly as it had come the moment is over.
The cloud vanishes and the sun comes out.
Jesus stands alone – near to them.
The moment was just that, a moment that fleeted in and then fleeted out, but the experience that they witnessed, the experience that they were part of, remained with them, because it was an Epiphany moment; a huge “A HA” moment.
It was a moment that remained with them – and it shaped them and it became part of them, part of their testimony -part of their witness to who Christ was – to who Christ is.
In the Second Letter of Peter – Peter writes these words:
“We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory saying, “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place – until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
Wednesday we begin the season of Lent.
Lent is a season where we consider the temptations that assail us, we contemplate the suffering that we, with Christ, undergo,
It is the season where we gaze upon both the good and the evil that is in this world -and in our own hearts,
I think that, as Peter puts it, we do well to be attentive to this vision, to this experience.
WE do well to attend to the fact that Jesus is more than the fellow from next door, more than a good buddy with whom we can walk and talk, more than a good example for our children and our grandchildren to emulate.
Jesus is the Son of God – the chosen one – the one whom we are commanded to listen to.
Jesus is the Chosen One, the one who is able to carry us into the presence of God; the Beloved one of the Father who gives peace, joy and victory over sin and death.
It’s good for us to have a season like Lent because it is meant to help us refocus.
We fall into our daily routines without a thought about the divinity that surrounds us, without any real awareness of the power that surrounds us and upholds us.
We have business to do, we have people to see, we have kids to take to sports and activities.
In the hustle and bustle sometimes we loose track of where we are going;
we loose track of whose people we are
and what has been promised to those who are attentive to him.
Most of us probably take time to talk to God on a regular basis.
We take time, sometimes very quickly to ask God for his help for ourselves and for others.
And that is good but how many of us are actually taking time to listen to God?
How many of us here in our time of prayer stop talking and reading and thinking about what concerns us to listen to God talking and speaking about what concerns Him?
Can we truly say that we wait upon the Lord until he answers – until he speaks –
until he graces us with a dream or a vision – or a set of words – or an experience wherein his will is revealed to us.
I am as guilty of this as most folks.
I have my life all figured out and i wait for God to get in line with what I want…but it doesn’t work that way.
This Lent I am going to resolve to start listening more to God not just doing all the talking.
I’m going to see if I can’t catch a glimpse of his glory as it fleets across my prayer and meditative life and see his vision and purpose and glory not mine.
To paraphrase Peter, “We will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place – until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts.”