Sermon Illustrations

Transfigurations are Big Business

The church calls this event the Transfiguration of Christ. Jesus was

"transfigured": the figure, the image, the look that he had, the face that

showed to others was changed over. The appearance of his face changed. Jesus

had a different look.

Transfigurations are big business today. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t

want one, including me. And many of us work hard and spend a lot of money to

get one -- a new face, a new look, a changed appearance.

Transfigurations are big business because we are very aware of the face we

present to the world. And we will alter our face to our advantage if we can.

Sometimes the change is not just in looks but in our whole image --

including our name.

Larushka Shikne did not like the image he thought his name projected, so he

changed his name to Laurence Harvey. Issur Danielovitch Densky did the same

thing and became Kirk Douglas.

In the same way, Frances Gum transfigured herself and her image into Judy

Garland. Archibald Leach became Cary Grant. Aaron Schwalt became Red


And would you have paid money to see Marion Morrison in the movies? Maybe,

but Marion didn’t take that chance, he became John Wayne.

Remember that in Holy Scriptures many people got new names to go with a new

life and a new image. Abram became Abraham. Sarai became Sarah. Jacob became

Israel. Saul became Paul. Simon became Peter, "The Rock."

Transfigurations are not the exception. They are the rule. We are all being

altered in the appearance of our face, our countenance. We are all changing.

To live is to be continually transfigured. So who are we becoming? I don’t

mean to suggest that Jesus’ transfiguration was a triumph of cosmetology. It

wasn’t. He did not have it done to himself, it was given to him. St. Luke’s

Gospel says that Jesus was praying when it happened.

The Protestant Hour Feb. 14, 1999. Episcopal speaker.. The Rt. Reverend Robert Johnson

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