For Transfiguration Sunday 2011
“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” Matthew 17:1-3.
How about us? Are we being transfigured? Are we being changed? Is it earth-shattering although admittedly most often gradual? Do we peek through our fingers with fear and trembling and wonder as we look back over what Jesus has done in us individually and as a church, at what he is doing, and at what the future might hold?
If not why not? Earth-shattering change, transformation, transfiguration, though gradual is perceptible is it not? If we are ho-humming through life, yawning at the holy, at Jesus, asleep in the light, or drowning in our sins while we show up to church every Sunday, then something is deathly wrong. We’re not following Jesus. We’re either spiritually sick or dead. And that is hell. We’re like the frogs being boiled alive in the pot and not knowing it. Paul would tell us to examine ourselves to see if we are actually in the faith.
Listen. While everyday in our life in Christ isn’t a mountaintop transfiguration experience, everyday is pregnant with the divine. Pregnant with life and wonder. Every day is supernatural. What might transfiguration or metamorphosis look like in such a life?
If once you were a nag, but now are not—isn’t that earth shattering? If once your goal was to live a comfortable life and then retire in middle class America but are now sacrificing or want to sacrifice for the good of others—if you do what you didn’t want to because you are following Jesus–then that’s transfiguration.
If you were secretly addicted to porn or sex or approval or alcohol or self-injury, or popularity, or success, or work or self and now are set free from such things or in the process of being set free from such things or wanting to be set free from such things—that is transfiguration. Were you once a very angry person or in perpetual despair? And now you’re loving and kind, others-directed and seeing glimmers of hope? If your body is getting old or your mind is getting old and you’re bearing it with grace or starting to bear it with grace or wanting to bear it with grace, If so—let’s say it together—transfiguration. One more time–transfiguration. You are changing and looking more like Christ, you are starting to glow with the life of Christ in you—glow like Moses did when he came down from Mount Sinai. You may not see it, but God does and others do or will.
Let me tell you, if we are truly following Jesus, every time we think we have him figured out, he’ll throw us a curve ball—like he did Peter James and John. For no matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t control him or what happened while with him. And neither can we. But as we follow him—transfiguration.
We are undergoing metamorphosis. As we are enfolded into Christ’s life, as God is redeeming all things, we get only small glimpses of the transfiguration currently underway, but someday, our eyes will be completely opened and we will see ourselves and all of creation completely transfigured into his likeness. So no day is an ordinary when we obediently follow Jesus up a mountain or down into a valley—for we’re metamorphosing into his glorious saints.