Thursday, February 15, 2007

Transfiguration Sunday.

I heard the story of a General and his aid, a second Lieutenant who were traveling by train when a beautiful young girl and her grandmother boarded and sat down in the seat facing them.

As the train moved along, soon it went through a long dark tunnel and everything was pitch darkness and silence....but suddenly there was the sound of a kiss and a slap.

And the young lady was thinking....”I suppose I should be flattered that that handsome young man kissed me...but I’m sorry grandmother slapped him."

The Grandmother was thinking...”I suppose I should not be surprised that the young man was so fresh as to kiss my beautiful granddaughter...but I’m glad she had the intestinal fortitude to slap him."

The General was thinking...”I suppose I can not blame the lieutenant for stealing a kiss from such a beautiful girl...but I wonder why she made the mistake of slapping me instead
of him"

Only the Young Lieutenant knew the truth...and was wonderful it was to kiss such a lovely girl and also have the opportunity to slap the General! "

It is easy to misunderstand events around us. We often believe the lie and reject the truth. So we are once again privileged to gather around the word of God who is the way the truth and the life.

Our Scripture lesson today is about the transfiguration of Jesus (1) which is a call
to re-examine and re-emphasize the majestic glory of Christ.

Next Sunday the church around the world will be looking at the cross of Jesus ....the central theme of the Gospel…and it will be only 6 weeks away for Easter. Easter is the greatest event in human history when Jesus Christ rose from the dead and was seen alive by many witnesses. This Easter message is the great truth that what we call death does not have the final word over what God calls life.

In Revelation 1: 7 , 8 we read “Behold Christ cometh with clouds...and every eye shall see Him...this Lord which was…and is and is to come...the Almighty. “

So this Jesus whom one day ”every eye shall see in all His glory, " in our Bible lesson in Mark was revealed in transfigured glory to Peter, James and John, and through these first witnesses is witnessing to us today!

The word, Transfiguration means “metamorphosis” which means a change from our essential nature. Epiphany, on the church calendar begins on January 6., twelve days after Christmas Day and celebrates, the time the Wise Men followed the Bethlehem star all the way to the infant Jesus who was revealed to them as the Savior. Epiphany means revelation and today, February 19, 2012 is the last Sunday of Epiphany, when Jesus was revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration in glory and power.

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the 40 days before Easter, not counting the Sundays. A time the church sets aside to contemplate more fully the Cross of Jesus.

The city of New Orleans is gearing up for the Mardi Gras,. I read last year about a couple of men who were in New Orleans for a conference and strolled into the Bourbon Street area after their meeting on Tuesday night. They said it was scary as they found themselves jammed so tightly in amid thousands and swept along in the midst of utter chaos and frightening disorder, with drunken men shouting obscenities and lunging at teenagers while women hung over balconies and in exchange for gaudy beads were stripping for the crowd.

The revelers at Mardi Gras often demonstrate the kind of destructiveness and danger that happen when human sin gets mixed with alcohol and other drugs and goes unchecked. Mardi Gras is a mostly pagan celebration of Strove Tuesday…or Fat Tuesday...when people feast on meat and high fat foods because Lent is thought to be a time of fasting and meatless meals and self denial.

Of course, this is one of the many misunderstandings and miss uses of the wonderful good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ....this combining a little truth with a lot of error.

HH Farmer is quoted as saying, “God our Father is absolute demand and absolute succor,” We like to hear about the succor, the comfort and God’s great love for us. But God’s demands are a part of His great love for us.

Calvin said....If God says “no” to is His love. As parents, we show our love when we say “no” to our children when they want to eat candy instead of vegetables....or when they want to play in the road instead of their back yard.

God our Father set’s standards and He makes us very uncomfortable when we run away or swagger around with pride and assume self -sufficiency.

Some years ago....we heard a great deal about God as our co-pilot But God is more than a co-pilot to help us reach our destination. We want to work out our plans…our flight plans…and then say…”By the way, Lord, bless my life, bless my plans."

In the 70’s the popular book “I’m OK and You’re OK” was to build self esteem . We hear a great deal these days about self esteem. As a timid child in Sunday School, I do not remember ever hearing about “self esteem building.” But when I was told and really heard that I was so loved by God and so important to God that Jesus died for me, I knew I was important.

God is revealed truly as our friend ...but only after we know Him as Savior and Lord. The limitless love that the Father communicates is not sentimental and coddling. We have tried our best to create a God who helps us, loves us, ...but does not question our values and priorities. We talk to Him when we are sick or in trouble but deny His authority over our lives.

Transfiguration Sunday and the last Sunday of Epiphany is February 19 this year. This last Sunday of Epiphany celebrates when Jesus was revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration in glory and power with Peter, James and John as witnesses.

The God who loves us, calls us to obedience as we call our children away from a hot stove or away from playing near a high traffic road. When we understand that God’s laws are the Maker's instructions that come with the body and the psyche, we rejoice in these instructions for real life!

Peter and James and John were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration and with them was Elijah of Mt Carmel and Moses of Mt Sinai. It was a Mountain Top experience! But Jesus knew and sought to prepare them for one more Mountain to climb...Mount Calvary!

1. Mark 9: 2-9

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