Summary: Preached on Transfiguration Sunday 09. Looks at the transfiguration in a different way. An invitation to "conspire" or "breath"with God. See following definition... (Conspire...Middle English, from Anglo-French conspirer, from Latin conspirare to be in ha
We live in the greatest country in the world. There are lots of things we do better than other countries. And there are some things about our country that are kind of unique. Americans seem to love conspiracy theories.
Think of rumors about a CIA conspiracy to kill President Kennedy; Concerns about fluoride in our drinking water. The popularity of the television shows such as The X-Files, The Da Vinci Code and the television show “24.” All revolve around the belief that powerful people or organizations are secretly manipulating historical events.
Most of this “conspiracy” stuff is simply crazy-talk… but still we find ourselves drawn to it. There is something inside us that tries to make sense of tragic or shocking events. How often do we try to pin blame on a mysterious group of people conspiring to do us harm.
We Americans think of ourselves as common men and women — you know, “We the people of the Unites States” — and perhaps as such, we tend to become distrustful and even disdainful of powerful elites.
When something goes wrong, we look for a conspiracy theory to reveal the secrets of the powerful to everyday folks. Shankar Vedantam of The Washington Post (June 5, 2006), makes the point that nothing ever happens by accident in the world of conspiracy theories. Instead, “the hidden hand of the puppeteer is everywhere.”
Its one thing to see a hidden hand in the assassination of JFK. It’s another thing to see a hidden hand in the story of the transfiguration. In today’s passage we’re told of something really strange happening. If you’re Peter, James and John, you can’t make up this stuff. This is even more bizarre than catching a boatload of fish on the left side than the right side of the boat. God has arranged a shocking event — one that terrifies but also glorifies.
It’s a divine conspiracy, you could say. Collusion. Collaboration.
The story begins as Jesus takes Peter, James and John up a mountain to pray. Suddenly, God changes the appearance of Jesus’ face, and makes his clothes dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appear in glory, and they speak of Jesus’ departure (Luke) which he is about to accomplish in Jerusalem. Then a cloud comes and envelops them all, and the disciples are terrified. The voice of God thunders, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” And as quickly as the stunning scene starts, it ends. Jesus is alone, and we see the disciples left in bewildered silence.
Now, you may be wondering how I can call this a conspiracy. I call it a conspiracy because it involves a true powerful force. The Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. God intervenes in human affairs and manipulates a historical event. He turns mountaintop prayer retreat into an awe-inspiring announcement confirming Jesus as God’s Chosen One, his Messiah, His Beloved Son. Look at the story again, and we can see the hidden hand of God everywhere.
However, I bet you have a problem with my word choice. The word “conspiracy” carries a ton of heavy, negative baggage these days. Yet, the word is really the right word in this case. The word “conspire” literally means “breathing together.”
If you do research on the word Conspire… here is what you will discover. Conspire Etymology:Middle English, from Anglo-French conspirer, from Latin conspirare to be in harmony, conspire, from com- + spirare to breathe Date: 14th century
When powerful people plan together secretly, they are “breathing together.” The same kind of thing happens in a huddle. The players come together and discuss a plan to advance toward the goal line. They are breathing the same air.
When we say yes to Jesus, in the same way, God works with us, to breathe with us…to advance His will. We get to “breathe together” with God. God’s ruah — the Hebrew word meaning breath, spirit or wind — It fills us with life, inspiration and power, and it gives us the ability to press on with God’s plan into the world. God does not do God’s work alone.
Let’s go back to the mountaintop. Let’s look in as Jesus is on the mountaintop, breathing together with God…. Moses and Elijah, breathing together with God.
Peter, John and James — confused by what they are seeing, but beginning to breathe together with God… but at the time it’s may be more like a gasping than smooth, easy breathing. Can you imagine the experience?????
Now let’s think about this event in this way …Whenever people breathe together with God, they become part of a divine “conspiracy.” Remember.. powerful people…who is more powerful than God the Father, Jesus, God the son, Moses and Elijah?
So what does this mean for us today? It means we are invited into the Lord’s conspiracy, challenged to be part of a network of Christian cells or huddles if you will, operating all over the world. Within these huddles, we breathe with one another, and must importantly, we breathe with God. We allow God’s breath — God’s ruah — to fill us with life, to inspire us, and to give us the power to push forward His divine agenda.