Let us pray: Dear Savior, on the transfiguration St. Peter blurted out the obvious: “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” Today we harbor those same thoughts in our hearts! It is good for our thoughts to be centered upon You, Your divine glory, and the closeness of God’s unseen reality. It is good for us to know that in a blink of an eye You can and someday will reveal Your goodness and light for all of us to see. It is good for us to know that we can talk with You in prayer at all times, and nothing can block us from the heavenly bliss that awaits Your faithful. Today give us the calmness and peace that Transfiguration brings! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR GLORIOUS KING!
TEXT: Mark 9: 2-9
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
I’ve preached on this text for 37 years. And it still holds my rapt attention. Most of you know the facts it contains. 1. Shortly before His passion Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with Him to a mountain pinnacle. 2. Suddenly Moses and Elijah are standing there talking with Christ. 3. They are all glowing, radiant, with heavenly light. 4. Peter and the others are frightened at the sight and rendered momentarily speechless. 5. A cloud envelopes them and God the Father speaks: “This is my son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” 6. Peter wants this joyous sight to continue forever and talks about building 3 huts so that everyone can remain and drink it all in—forever. 7. After the cloud, it all vanishes in an instant. 8. The disciples are shaken to their core—but it’s a happy, exuberant feeling that they feel in their very bones!
When the ancient church formulated the church year, they picked this text to mark a huge high point before descending into the 40 days of Lent. Some have termed this a “Messianic Mountaintop.” It certainly is! Then it’s back to trudging the trenches with Jesus as He endures the 40 days’ temptation by Satan, culminating with His sufferings, death, and resurrection of holy week. It’s an image of what we go through during Lent with Christ leading the way. And afterwards comes Easter with its Mt. Everest Messianic mountaintop.
Folks, we all need Transfiguration. We need its truth, its beauty, its hope, its joy. Our reality is nitty-gritty. Our reality is one of suffering—physical and spiritual, temptations which make us feel dirty and unworthy, apathy which grinds us down as we seek to follow our Lord, and the tremendous grief and sadness that death brings. We long for something better. We long for relief and an uplifting “living in the moment” experience. We long for some kind of proof that heaven really does await and that God Almighty is close to us and involved in our lives right this minute. Well, here we have it.
Examine your inner heart. Down deep you know, you feel, you’re certain that something glorious awaits you and it is o so close. That longing is for Godly reality. It is the hope that does not disappoint. It keeps us going. It keeps us fighting Satan and the downward spiral into despair that he seeks to foster in us. It gets us through the dark days of winter and the drab sameness of life. My friends, what you see with your eyes and feel with your senses is not the reality God created you for. No, transfiguration with light, warmth, and the ability to let down and feel completely safe is God’s reality. And here we’re reminded just how close it is—but a tiny hair’s breath away!
There’s a good old Anglo Saxon word: dross. D-r-o-s-s. It denotes the left-overs when gold is refined in the furnace. It’s basically worthless, dull, lifeless, and ugly. Most of our lives are filled with dross. Human reality is dross. But through faith our dross yearns to rise up, and show the gold we once contained. It yearns for eternal meaning and oneness with God that was lost in the Fall into sin. Christ our transfigured Lord shows us that meaning and purpose right here. He was the best of the best, sinless, and holy for us. He won that reality for us on the cross. And through faith, well, “out of darkness we now have light” His light!
When you actually face death and then by grace live on, your viewpoint changes. Believers become more fearless. The dross of life leaves you with one question: “Lord, if you saved me from it, what more do you now have planned for me?” What reality awaits me here and what glorious mysteries will Your guiding hand reveal? Since His reality is o so close by, a hairs breath, well, knowing that puts a newfound spring in your step. And so with confidence you boldly step into life with hope over the certainness of Transfiguration—your transfiguration!
These are the reasons why I love Transfiguration Sunday. Because this is REAL reality, My reality, and most importantly GOD’S REALITY! YES LORD, IT IS GOOD FOR US TO BE HERE! Amen
THE PEACE OF GOD…..
Pastor Thomas H. Fox