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2-11-18 Transfiguration of our LORD

Transfiguration Sunday Mark 9:2-9

A young boy asked his mother, "Mom, does marriage make you have babies?" The mother reluctantly answered her son, "Well, not exactly. Just because you are married does not mean that you’ll have a baby."                                                                                     

The boy still looked puzzled: "Then how do you have babies?" His mother was not eager about continuing the conversation, answered, "It's kind of hard to explain."                                                        

The boy thought for a moment. Then looked at his Mom and carefully said, "You don't really know how it works, do you, Mom?"        

Transfiguration of Jesus is not one of those events that excite preachers. Why?                            

Because generally, this is one of those difficult passages to explain.   Difficult because, like the little boy told his mother, we "don't really know how it works."                                                      

Jesus invites Peter, James, and John to go up on the mountain to pray.   They were ecstatic. Then up on the mountaintop, immersed in prayer, all of a sudden there's Moses and Elijah standing with Jesus. It’s like an episode out of Star Trek: Moses and Elijah appear right out of thin air.  Scripture says the disciples were terrified.                                                                                      

Who wouldn’t have been terrified?  Then just as suddenly as they appeared, Moses and Elijah were gone and Jesus was back to normal.        

So how does this passage fit into our daily lives?                                                                                    

One thing is clear; the disciples witnessed Jesus like they'd never seen him before.                   

They saw Him as God the Father sees him.                                                                                                      

They saw him as we will see him when he returns.                                                                                 

They saw Jesus in all his glory.                                                                                                                      

Once Peter got over his fear and recognized the glory of the moment, he wanted to memorialize the event.   But basically God told him to "Be quiet and listen.  Our work isn't on the mountain, it's back down in the valley."                                                                           

We, too, need to listen to God-- and focus on Jesus.  WE all, Paul says, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, and that word transformed - is the same word used to describe what happened to Jesus. He was transformed, and we are being transformed, transfigured.

Taking this a step further:  Jesus is restoring to us what we lost in sin, through Jesus’ death and resurrection.              

So then, Paul goes on to say, having this ministry --by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.  

The purpose of ministry, the purpose of the Church, is that we—you and I, are transfigured from death to life, from sin to glory, and that’s what’s happening here. 

In Holy Baptism there is dying to sin--new life, a resurrection if you will. In the Absolution, following confession—we receive forgiveness, new life in CHRIST. In Holy Communion, CHRIST is in us, His life is in us. In the Word of God, listening to Him—we are transformed into the image of CHRIST. We need that renewal often because we fall for satan’s lies and deception so easily.  

We conform to this world instead of being transformed by CHRIST.

We are reluctant to speak about our faith.

We grab for what is forbidden ‘cause we think we know better than God.                                       

Like Peter, we blather on instead of listening.

We like the shiny and spectacular, we easily become dissatisfied and covet what is not ours.     

We doubt and we grumble, we judge.

So take God’s advice: listen to Jesus and you know what you’ll hear?      I forgive you all your sins.       

This is My Body, This is My Blood.                                                                                                              

The LORD bless you and keep you.     

Go in peace.  

And so today we’ve come to the end of the Epiphany season.  During the short Christmas season we’re reminded of how God came to humanity in the flesh. During Epiphany we’ve seen this man Jesus as God. On Wednesday we’ll enter the season of Lent and see this God-man on the cross, takes our place, that we may be transfigured, changed, transformed.  And then on Easter, we’ll rejoice and look forward to the Day when our transfiguration will be complete—when we, too, will add to that great multitude of heaven.               

The apostle Paul says it so well:  God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts - now!  

We must not let other things, less important, trivial things distract us from our purpose, which is to love and serve God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We must not let other things get in the way of our relationship with God.   We are to stay focused, and help others focus their lives on Jesus. 

Christianity is not "information about God" but "transformation by God."  The Good News we share has the power to transform lives, to transform the world, one life at a time.                       

God is at work of transforming His Church.                                                                                       

God is working through each of us transforming this congregation.                                             

Our challenge is to continue to listen to God and focus on Jesus.