August 6, 2017 Reverend Bob Hargreaves


Luke 9:28-36


Have you noticed how many people want us to

   see them as more glorious than they really are?


Caesar and Herod just to name two from Jesus’ own



And in our own day?  How about more politicians

    than I can name in a whole day,

          let alone in one sermon.


I think most of us would name the current occupant

    of the White House, but there are many, many more.

          This syndrome is not limited to one man,

              one party, or one nation.


Then there are business tycoons, TV and movie stars,

    sports stars, etc., etc., etc.


At least in America, our whole culture is about being

    The Best.   Best in everything.


And every so often, the veneer gets peeled away

    and we see the real truth about one of these

          demi-gods, and the illusion vanishes for a



Now, along comes Jesus, who never said he was

    anything more than an ordinary guy from Galilee,

          who never wanted a palace,

              never wore silk suits,

                    never got his face engraved on any money.


He told his friends that he could teach them about God

    and about their own belovedness.


For a text he used the fish in their nets,

    the sheep in their fields,

          the seeds the farmers sowed,

              the yeast in a woman’s hands.


And he added, as his own special seasoning

    for the bread of their lives,

          a few blind men,

              some lepers,

                    a foreign woman with a sick child,

                        a Roman centurion in despair for his

                              dying daughter,

                                  several prostitutes,

                                        and a woman who had 5 husbands.


One day he took three friends with him

     and climbed up a high mountain.

          Up there, suddenly he started shining

              like a bright floodlight.

                    He reminded them of the pillar of fire

                        that led the people of God, under Moses,

                              in the wilderness of Sinai.

                                  And they heard the voice of God

                                        calling him God’s own beloved Son.


But notice this:  he never asked them to see his glory.

    Instead, he asked them to see his willingness to suffer,

          to see how he chose to hang out

              with the lowliest of them

                    as his demonstration of where God

                        chooses to be found.


As for the glory they saw in him on the mountain,

    he wanted them to keep quiet about that.


Unlike Caesar, Herod, and the Donald,

    who just can’t get enough of the glory road,

          who want gold on everything

              and creature comforts all around them,

                    Jesus says “hush” to Peter and the others,

                        and says, “Let’s go back down

                              to the low places of this world.


Most of us want to rise in the world,

    not lower ourselves.

          It’s the American story—rags to riches,

              not riches to rags.

                    We want to be celebrated,

                        and we admire those who get that wish.


So, what about Peter?

    He wanted to preserve the glory moment

          and stay in it forever.  He said so.

              But what about after it was over?

                    Nothing lasts forever in this world.


So many disciples—then and now—dream of

    glory-to-come.   But not Jesus.


And we believe that Jesus is God’s Word in the flesh,

    come to show us what the real truth is.


So maybe the glory of God is not about the next election,

    not about the size of the crowds,

          not about basking in praise and adulation.

               Not about building huge churches

                    and filling them with disciples of the preacher,

                         instead of disciples of Jesus.


The glory that radiated out from Jesus

    may simply be truth and light,

          and about complete devotion

              to the same people that Moses and Elijah

                    cared about.


Moses, who grew up as a prince, and in the end

    gave his life to a rag-tag bunch of people

          who had nothing of value, not even hope.


Elijah, who confronted King Ahab and his Jezebel,

     then hid in the brush at the side of a brook,

          and then turned for help to a starving widow

                              and her son,

              and then saved them as they saved him,

                    a crumb at a time.


In the tradition of Moses and Elijah,

    Jesus brought his rag-tag group of followers

          to an upper room,

              fed them not much more than crumbs

                    and the ceremonial cup of Elijah,

                        and then went out to pray before he died.


And so it is, still and forever.

    The glory of God does not look at all like the glory

          of this world.

              And all the prayer  breakfasts and all the applause

                    and all the fame and all the power,

                        cannot turn fools’ gold

                              into the glory of God.


And the real glory of God was always in Jesus,

    but those three disciples were given sight to see it,

          their blinders were removed just for a  moment.

              But that was enough.

                   And they were changed forever.


The glory of God is right in front of you and me all the time,

     Even right here, right now.

          And if God removes the blindness from our eyes,

               just for a moment, we also may see it,

                   and that will be enough,

                        and we will be changed forever, too.


                              May it be so!








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