TRANSFIGURATION 08/06/17 ST. GEORGE’S
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,
a foreign woman with a sick child,
a Roman centurion in despair for his
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
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!