March 3 2019 Transfiguration Sunday

March 3, 2019 Children’s message

I'm gonna try to demonstrate something today. You see what I have what is this? Correct it is an orange. Now I'm going to do something with it that is going to change it, it’s going to look very different. I'm going to transform its very shape and form. (peel the orange)

Now what do I have in my hand? It’s still an orange? How can you tell? (look, shape, smell, just missing its peel) You're right it’s still an orange even when its form is changed, even when you see the inside more closely it’s still an orange.

This change of an orange from an orange to an orange is a little like what our Gospel told us happened to Jesus. Jesus and his disciples went up onto the mountain and his form changed. Jesus who was fully human was also fully God. Jesus let some of God's glory show and it was so dazzling and brilliant that it amazed Peter, James and John. Jesus was just showing what was truly inside him, the glory of God. He didn't always show it like this orange didn't always show what’s inside it. But like this orange whether it’s on the outside (show peel) or inside (show orange) it's still an orange. Just like that, whether it was on the outside or the inside Jesus was still Jesus, God's Son.

Peter got all excited about noticing Jesus with all his glory and wanted to start setting up admission booths for others to come see. But God gave Peter some advice when he spoke from a cloud. This is my son, listen to him. We can get all caught up in how awesome Jesus is all the great stuff he did, healing and miracles and dazzling appearance but it won't help us any if we don't stop and listen to him and believe. Believe that he is fully human and fully God and loved us so much he died for us and rose again to save us. That's the most important thing to notice not the appearance but the purpose. Jesus purpose was to love us and save us. This orange's purpose is to feed us, so let’s make use of it, anybody want a transformed orange? (hand out slices with napkins) Thanks for coming up.


March 3, 2019

Moses face shining like a beacon because he's talked with God. WOW!

Jesus shining like a sun, while having a teleconference live feed with Moses and Elijah. The transfiguration, WOW what an event! How amazing how awesome! How confusing? What does all this mean? How do we relate to it?

It's like those old Oak Express commercials- These well-dressed men are interrogating a man in a shirt and tie hooked up to a lie detector. How long have you served in politics? 25 years (everyone looks at the technician who nods and says “yep.”) How many committees have you served on? 107, (again they look, technician again nods and says “yep”). Are you a member in good standing with your political party? Yep. All right senator here's the big question: have you ever told a lie? The candidate smiles and says “No.”  Everyone looks to the technician who stands up in shock and states, “I can't believe it he's telling the truth!!” The commercial cuts away- “that's not natural but Oak express is.” By today's standards the question is unsaid but understood how can you be a politician and not lie?

The question that this text of the Transfiguration brings to mind is how can Jesus be fully human and fully God? The funny thing is when Jesus shows his divinity in just a few short verses later when he heals the epileptic child, we don't see anything mind boggling- of course Jesus can heal people. Duh, He's GOD!!

But why is it when Jesus shows God's glory, the same kind of glory that shone upon Moses and rubbed off on Moses in the days of the Ten Commandments, we say, “I don't get it?” That's not natural!? Well folks, I hate to break it to you but telling a lame man to walk and he does is not natural, telling a leper you're healed and his skin clears up {that second!} is not natural. Casting out demons from epileptic children is not natural. Unless of course you are fully GOD!

Let’s go back to the oak express idea of natural- if it is someone's nature not to lie why would it be unnatural for a public servant [if it is their very nature to be honest] to not lie? Because, we've been conditioned to expect something else. We’ve have this consistent experience and message to expect dishonesty to the point where we exclude the other option of honesty. 

Why can't we relate to Jesus being fully God and shining with God's glory? Because I suspect we've been conditioned to expect something else. We have learned so well that Jesus was fully human, born in a stable, raised by parents, walked dusty roads, put up with unreliable friends. That we don’t have room to consider Jesus fully God because we’re so used to just hearing and experiencing Jesus is my friend.  It doesn't take much understanding or imagination to accept that Jesus was fully human.

When we hear about healings, we chalk them up not to Jesus also being fully God but to being "gifted" with that sort of thing kind of like Lebron James with a basketball or Sidney Crosby with a puck.  We sometimes consider Jesus as humanly given the right stuff and the right setting and he could do miracles like Herb Brooks did as the coach of the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey team. (“Do you believe in Miracles? Do You believe in Miracles?)

But this is not a case of the stars aligning just right, or talent meshing at just the right time. This is the case of an orange being an orange. Jesus is Jesus- fully human and Fully God. The gospels try again and again to tell us this with accounts of his sleeping and eating right alongside recounting his healings and teachings. So that when we get to the main point of the story the part where we are seriously to pay attention, his passion and resurrection, we do what God tells Peter, James and John to do.  We listen to him!  We pay attention, obey, or more importantly we follow him.

It isn’t just a coincidence that each year we close the season of Epiphany and lead into the season of Lent with the Transfiguration. It is a story that tells us about both, God being revealed (Epiphany/revelation) AND compels us to pay attention to the most important part of Jesus being fully human and fully God- his passion and resurrection which is the focus of Lent.

The transfiguration, it’s not unnatural- It is natural for Jesus for Jesus is both fully human and fully God. Instead of being confused by this or wishing to wallow in this glory let’s do what God advised Jesus followers- listen to him, believe in him, follow him.  Jesus our friend, our savior, our God. Amen.