Summary: A sermon for Transfiguration Sunday
Transfiguration Sunday Sermon
"I Saw The Face Of The Pilot"
2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them,
3 and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus.
5 And Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah."
6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid.
7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him."
8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.
9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead.RSV
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
Robert Louis Stevenson gave us this little story:
A ship was in a serious storm and in grove distress. The passengers were alarmed. One of them finally, against orders, went up to the deck and made his way to the pilot. The seaman was at his post of duty at the wheel, but, seeing the man was greatly frightened. he gave him a reassuring smile. Returning to the other passengers. the man sold. "I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well."
"I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well." can be the phrase on which the story of the transfiguration is based.
Jesus took with him, Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain and there Jesus was changed, transformed into a white glow that could never be duplicated on earth. Along with this glow came two people out of the past, Elijah and Moses and the disciples did not know what to make of this.
But impulsive Peter said let us build three booths, monuments to this great occasion. Let us stay here and relish in this moment.
And then a voice said to them, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." When they seemed not to be able to comprehend any more, everything was gone and Jesus told them to follow him down the mountain and not to tell anyone of this experience.
Peter, James and John could have thought to themselves, "I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well." They saw the glory of God through Jesus, Moses and Elijah and heard the voice of God and they could have thought, yes all is well as we ride out the storms of live.
But did they?
Their first impulse was to stay put on that mountain top with all the glory around them. Their first impulse was stay where they were. Their first impulse was to stay in this glory, to stay put, to bask in the glory of God.
I remember when Wanda and I took a vacation out west and we traveled to Pike’s Peak. It was a steep and winding road that led up to the top of that mountain. There we parked the car, got out and went to the observation platform and looked out in all directions. It was truly a wondrous sight.
Then all of a sudden a storm blew in. The wind started to blow, the rain came and the lightening started to flash in the sky. The guide yelled for everyone to come inside, but I was so enthralled by the beauty of the storm, that I lingered. I did not want to leave that great majesty that was all around me. Then, in an instant, lightning flashed again, just a few feet from where I stood, and I hurried into the shelter, still drawn by the beauty outside, but weary of the storm and its ill effects.
That mountain top experience was glorious. I wanted to stay.
The mountain top experience for the disciples was glorious. They wanted to stay, to stay and worship what they saw and hear.
And many times we as Christians want that mountain top experience in our faith life. We want that glorious feeling of being with Christ. Some even demand it. Some even make those who do not feel that way feel guilty! We like the highs, we shun the lows.
Some Christians feel that if their live or those around them are not always glorious, something is wrong with their faith or the faith of those around them. This theology of glory says that if you are not healthy, wealthy, feeling good because of Jesus then something is wrong, either with you or your faith. If you are with Jesus everything is good, great, glorious.