Summary: A sermon for Transfiguration Sunday about the transforming power of Christ’s Spirit
In today’s Gospel Lesson, on the Mount of Transfiguration, the awesome power and glory of God was mysteriously revealed in Jesus Christ. That scene is described in this way in The Message version of the event:
Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. (Mt. 17:1-2 Msg).
It has been scientifically established that the average person blinks some twenty-five times per minute...
It has also been determined that each blink takes about one-fifth of one second.
So, if you took a ten-hour automobile trip, going fifty miles per hour, you will drive about fifty miles with your eyes closed.
The disciples who accompanied Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration were dog-tired. But for those weary disciples, it was no time to sleep -- or even hardly blink their eyes. Had they not kept awake they would have missed the glory of God revealed in the Person of Jesus the Christ.
When you look at Jesus Christ, you see the Light at its brightest.
Peter wanted to build holy places on that mountaintop. And he was not entirely wrong. A shrine is fine. A church building is fine, but it is not a place to hide and retreat. It is a place for us to gain perspective, a place to receive our orders for life with one another and in the world.
Jesus said to His followers that He came not to be ministered unto but to minister; not to be served, but to serve.
Many of us come to Jesus in order to take from Him what we can. We come to church in order to have our needs met. We come to get somebody to inspire us and massage our egos.
But you have to discover, sooner or later, that you are not fulfilling the purpose for the Spirit of Christ in you just to focus on your own needs. you have been called to be a participant in a life of ministry and service.
So you can’t stay on the mountaintop and hope that the church will just fulfill your needs and make you comfortable. We must return to the valley to do the work the Father has sent us to do and hopefully we return to the valley as transfigured or transformed people ourselves.
We have been to the mountaintop! We have seen the Lord transfigured. But He has not told us everything is right with the world. And so He invites us to partake in the mystery of the Cross.
Some of us have been coming to Church all our lives without really hearing the paradox Jesus lays upon us:
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Lk. 9:23-24 TNIV).
If you have come here to Bridgewater United Methodist Church to save yourself, you are lost. If you come here to lose yourself in the ministry of Christ you will save yourself. Because this is a paradox some of us have never taken to heart, we’re disappointed. Somehow, our Church experience never comes alive. We blame the pastor, we blame the church leaders, we blame the music, we blame many other things in the congregation ...when maybe what you and I need to do is look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “Am I able to follow Jesus and his example? Am I ready to take responsibility for fulfilling my life’s purpose?”
You go to church for years hearing the same stories and hymns and creeds, and your spirit becomes sleepy and dull. But one Sunday morning it happens ... like it did for C.S. Lewis, the renowned author and scholar. He attended church as a child but fell away from the church as an adolescent and proclaimed himself an atheist. At some point though in his life, Lewis returned to the roots of his faith.
He recalled the time when he again started going to Church. "I disliked the hymns," he said. "I considered them to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But then I realized that the hymns were, nevertheless, being sung with great devotion by an old saint in rough boots in the opposite pew. It was the kind of moment in which you realize that you aren’t fit to clean his boots, and it gets you out of your solitary conceit."
All of a sudden, the dullness breaks away, if only for an instant, and even your faith is transfigured!
“Jesus is constantly involved in transformation:
• water into wine,