Transfiguration 2021

Transfiguration 2021

February 14, 2021 | Bryan Simmons

Passage: Mark 9:2-9

    Click here for worship video.

    Please be seated. Oh, it is certainly chilly out there. And we've got a couple of themes today, we've got the Transfiguration theme where there is this glowing bright white light. Which is probably a nice warm light as well. And we're talking about Valentine's Day, right? That warm love, that warm, squishy feeling inside. So we'll just have to ignore the cold for now as we talk about these things.

    I don't think for Peter, James and John, they knew what they were in for when they went up that mountain to be with Jesus. Jesus often goes away to pray for a while, and so maybe that is what they just assumed would be happening -- they'll just go up and pray with Jesus. After all, wouldn't that be a fun thing to do when you are walking with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, this person that you have come to know, and see do amazing things. And so they ended up going up with him. And as he's praying the scriptures describe this transfiguration. And there really is no definition for transfiguration, but what we have here in this idea that he became dazzling white, as no one could ever bleach them. There's this this amazing whiteness and brightness. And then Elijah and Moses with them like this, somehow changed into something that he wasn't or changed into something that he is truly, that we couldn't see before.

    And we don't really have a good way to to talk about these things, you know, it's not like you first thing in the morning, turn on your bedroom light and the room was transfigured before you. Because you're adjusting to the light. It's not like that at all. But the very divinity of Jesus, shining through in that moment. For Peter, James and John to see. And only Peter, James and John saw it. I think it's one of those moments that, you know, we tend to take for granted because even though we have a whole Sunday dedicated to it we just move on. Because for us, we know the resurrection, we know the end of the story, we know that the transfiguration is but a mere glimpse into what the reality of who Jesus is IS. And so we don't really think about this too much. But for Peter, James and John, imagine yourself being one of those three that got to go up that mountain. They got to witness this bright, dazzling light and within that bright, dazzling light, you can see figures that somehow, you know, are Moses and Elijah, something you shouldn't even know because they're not really described very well in scripture as to what they should look like. And you know that this is an amazing moment, in fact, you know that it's so amazing that, like it says with Peter, absolutely terrified because you have no way to truly describe what is going on.

    And then, like Peter, let us try to preserve this moment, right? Let us make these three dwellings to try to keep this moment here, to try to keep you and Moses and Elijah present in this moment. And then the cloud comes over the top. "This is my son, the beloved. Listen to him." You're already terrified and then you're enveloped in a dark cloud (that sounds fun!). It would be such an amazing moment. And not even necessarily an exciting moment. Because you truly have no idea what just happened and you have no idea the meaning of it.

    I almost wonder if it was a sigh of relief when as they're coming down the mountain, Jesus said, "Now, tell nobody about this, OK?" I think it would have been a sigh of relief because they're like: "GOOD! Because I don't know how to talk about it." But wait until the Son of man has been risen from the dead. Wait until the Son of man has been risen from the dead. And presumably then you will know what this moment was all about.

    I promised to bring Valentines into this as well. And so I'm going to step back a moment and ask you to think about moments in your life. On a level of of just pure joy in love. You've got really fond memories of a child at home growing up and maybe playing a family game or singing a song together or coming to Christmas Eve worship, where it just hits you in a different way, right? And you remember that moment the rest of your life, or maybe it's your first love. And how that made you feel this glimpse of just perfection? Before your first love crushed your hopes and dreams, right? Anyone with their first love today? OK, well, yeah?! How about that? Congratulations! We catch these glimpses of love, right? We catch glimpses of pure joy in the relationships that we find ourselves in. But they're not preserved, and in the moment, we don't necessarily know fully what those glimpses mean. But that meaning gets developed the more the relationship gets developed. Right? And sometimes that meaning gets developed even more and you have that meaning so solidified. When you lose that relationship, maybe they died or something happened. The moment itself is a glimpse of that perfection. But the meaning of that moment develops later. And I think that's true for Peter, James and John here. They saw something amazing, not quite sure what it was -- terrified about it. Told not even to talk about it until later.

    Because they had no idea what they were talking about anyway. How many of us have any idea what we're talking about in love and relationships as well? And yet at the resurrection this moment makes complete sense to them. Because at the resurrection, they now understand. Who Jesus is. Jesus isn't just some prophet that did some miracles, that was murdered by the state and then risen back to new life. Jesus is divinity. Jesus is divine, the son of God. Born for us, crucified for us, risen for us, never to die again, to invite us into that same eternal life. Joy and bliss and grace and peace. The moment itself in the moment is a glimpse of the true joy and perfection to come.

    And that is where we find ourselves today. That is where we live, right? We have the glimpses. We have the story. We have the promise. But we are not living it. The promises of something to come. That we can participate in now. We can live the life of love, we can live that life of grace and forgiveness. We can reach out to others and show how much God loves them by the way we treat them and lift them up. But we know. That we don't have that fullness of the perfect moment YET.

    I think the pandemic has shown that to us more than anything, is that we don't have the fullness of that perfect moment yet, because we've been knocked down even to our standard way of living. Right? We're here -- those of us that are in the building joined with you over the Internet -- in a way that we have not even thought we would be. And we are working our way slowly back. To what we would consider normal for our lives. So how much further away does it feel this full realized promise that Jesus has for us? And yet. How much deeper? How much more meaningful? How much more have you relied on this promise in the wake of things we do not understand?

    Maybe we don't all get the luxury of the very Christ himself being transfigured before us. But we do have the luxury of knowing the truth of the resurrection. We do have the luxury of strengthening one another in this truth. We have the luxury of knowing beyond what the disciples could even fathom. That you are loved by the eternal God. You are forgiven by the eternal God. That you are welcomed into the life of the eternal God, which is love and joy and bliss. We catch little glimpses of it now. And those little glimpses lead us to the promised future. Amen.