Anyone know what this is?
During our time in Kenya we saw many Chameleons. A pair settled outside our home, for most of the time doing nothing,……………. just waiting for meal to come close.
The others we saw were found by some missionary kids who had grown up in Kenya and knew exactly how to recognise them whatever their colour & where to find them.
We couldn’t even see them in the bushes but they could. You see some Chameleons can change colour to suit new circumstances. They transfigure.
Today we are looking at change. So this is what this festival Sunday of Transfiguration and the Reading is all about. A striking Change……..
TRANSFIGURATION is a striking change in appearance or character or circumstances.
I think we need to look deeper. Is it only about the change in Jesus?…….. or about the change in circumstances, or the disciples?……… or could it also be about US too?
In our reading Jesus is TRANSFIGURED
He was Changed – His face shone like the sun, and his
clothes became as white as the light. Wooooh!
The Transfiguration is designed to startle us…… & get our attention………………. It is like a gigantic heavenly spotlight, giving us light, sound, and visuals; we get a clear view OF WHO Jesus is.
The disciples had mostly experienced Jesus as a man, an amazing man certainly; but now as Jesus talked with 2 people it was though a curtain had opened and His Deity had been revealed in all His GLORY. He was dazzling……..
This time of glory and transfiguration is a mountain-top experience, a moment when it feels like the veil between heaven and earth has drawn very thin…
As the trio, Peter, James and John tried to make sense of what they were seeing I wonder what they thought…. It seemed that it was Moses and Elijah that were there.
Moses was the person God had used to give God’s Law. The rules for faithfully following God.
Elijah was a major prophet – foretelling the coming of the Messiah & expected to return before the Messiah came. The Trio must have thought “Here is Jesus bringing everything together. Fulfilling everything that God had planned…….. and what they had been waiting for.
That must have been amazing! For the disciples that was a mountain-top experience. A Place of God’s revealed GLORY. They wanted to build shelters for them. To hold on to that precious moment.
I’ve been told that this account, linked with what happened before, was the WATERSHED in the gospel story.
WATERSHED – an event marking a unique or important historical CHANGE of course………. or one on which important developments depend.
Previous to this account Jesus had been quizzing His disciples. Who do people think I am?
The answers were varied. “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about YOU?” Jesus had asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Peter had answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
The Disciples had got it. They knew who He was!
The Foundation was laid. This was the WATERSHED moment. The focus of Jesus’ life & ministry could now change.
Jesus then told them about His death on a cross……. His resurrection ……………..and the importance for them and US of also taking up our own cross.
“But what about US?” Jesus asks us now. “Who do YOU say I am?” Have WE made up our minds? Are we prepared to follow……………. To follow even if our following is cross shaped with tough challenges.
Then, after 6 days Jesus takes them up that mountain.
5 While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Another change. Voices don’t often speak from clouds.
The disciples had concluded that Jesus was, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” and now God was confirming this…… also speaking of the pleasure He found in His Son and then telling the disciples to LISTEN.
What do you hear when you spend time
listening to God?
There have only been a few times when I have heard God speak directly. But it was more of a strong inner voice than an audible one. But God can commune with us in many different ways. I find I hear him speak into my life most clearly when I prepare my heart to hear.
- Maybe I ask Him to speak through the Bible about a situation or into my own heart.
- Sometimes I just sit quietly telling Him that I love Him and feel that love returned.
- Sometimes I ask that He will speak to me about a situation in whatever way He chooses and Listen out. I find then that He speaks through a friend, a Bible verse, a song, a dream, an inner conviction (many varied ways really)
I’d really like you to tell me afterwards how you feel God communicates with you.
He always communicates with love, though for me that love has sometimes been linked to a rebuke or a need for a change of direction.
When we begin to listen to God we will hear words of
- God’s great love for us,
- God’s unconditional grace for us,
- and God’s enthusiastic forgiveness of us.
And this should change our way of relating to God and others and our way of living.
One of the things I am aware of the midst of change is how many voices can begin to speak. Some are from outside and some are from within.
There are voices of self-doubt, self-criticism, and all the should’ves, and could’ves ………….Other voices deny what is happening & blame. So many voices cry out for attention. Not every voice, is helpful or worth listening to. Some voices may sound sweet but they are not good for us.
The story of the transfiguration says there is only one voice to listen to. The voice of God speaks from the bright cloud “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him.”
It means that whatever change comes to us it does not have the final word………… There is another voice. Jesus is always speaking a word LARGER AND MORE POWERFUL than all the other voices.
In the midst of CHANGE Jesus speaks a word of life,……… of hope, & forgiveness; a word of mercy, & generosity; a word of courage,……. of love, …………..or of healing.
Jesus speaks a word for you and me. Are we listening to that word, to his voice?
He also says – “Do not be afraid.” Most of us I suspect live with some level of fear. Change often brings about fear – the fear of losing what we love, value, and desire;
His words don’t magically get rid of our fear. Instead, they are a call to take a first step into a new and changed life despite our fear. …We are not called to be fearless but to be courageous in the midst of change and fear.
I don’t know what changes you are dealing with. Maybe it’s in your marriage, or with you children. Maybe it’s the death of a loved one. Maybe it’s about your health, physical or mental well-being. Maybe it concerns your work, or your income. ……..or plans that didn’t work out. But perhaps life is going well and you feel alive.
Whatever your circumstances – LISTEN TO HIM.
Those words of Love and those saying Do not be afraid. are holy wisdom for times of change. ……………They can be the means by which we step into our own transfiguration.
Maybe it wasn’t just Jesus who was transfigured on the mountaintop. Maybe it was Peter, James, and John who saw Jesus for the first time…… as He had always been.
If that’s true, then it means that every change – whether good or bad, wanted or unwanted,– is transformed with divine light and God’s presence. Listen to him. Do not be afraid.
We are constantly being called into
new and unseen ventures.
In our time again of vacancy this is particularly true. It challenges our dependency?
We are constantly being pushed forward, into deeper discipleship, greater love, deeper faith. We’re never quite ready, and yet we have to move forward. We need to leave, and yet we insist on holding on to what is familiar.
Let’s hear the words of Paul from Romans 12 v2
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. GNV
In short, we too are having Transfiguration moments.
So hold on to the glimpses of the divine. Be prepared to be CHANGED. But be ready to go back down the mountain and keep up the hard work, because that’s what God calls us to do. Amen.