A sermon by Canon Carolynne Williams
Last Sunday after the Epiphany - Year C
A parishioner shared a cartoon with me a couple of Sundays ago.
The cartoon shows a man with a long beard. He is wearing clothing from ancient times, including sandals for his feet and is holding two tablets. The tablets have writing on them. I assumed that they were THE tablets, with five sentences on each tablet for a total of ten.
He is not standing on a street or in front of a place of business. He is standing on the side of a mountain, and the clouds are all around him.
The sun is shining brightly and the caption reads:
“So actually, this is all about what you want?”
Is this all about what I want in serving God?
Why do we even give thought to anything that is not about us?
Who can explain how the divine is present in everyday experience?
Our gospel story this morning from the gospel of Luke is about the transfiguration of Jesus. It is about the appearance of Moses and Elijah, and an audible voice from a cloud.
There are times in our lives when our future becomes clearer to us.
Or, in reflecting, for those who take the time to reflect, we may stop from time to time to access where we have been and consider the possibility of the direction of where we would like to go.
We also may find, in the midst of the struggle, the meaning of the gospel.
In order to know who we are in God and who God is in us, we have to know ourselves. We have to understand the difference between the ego, the false self and the true self, the identity we all seek in God.
In order to accomplish the goal of understanding who the Messiah is and what his transfiguration means for us and to us, we have to allow one of us to override the other.
That is the false self-overriding the true self, or the reverse: the true self overriding the false. One has to succumb to the other, which is what one wants. Why?
Because in order to serve God in the manner in which we have been called to served we must consider his example. His transfiguration. His being changed and the glory of God shown upon him. The dangers of such rare experiences is that we may fail to learn, as we ought, or we may want to make them the normal happening, and withdraw from life and living. The danger is becoming pious and self-righteous.
Self-righteous to the point that we are considered to be a little strange. Pious, head in the clouds, etc.
Peter and company did not understand what Jesus was saying to them and what they were seeing. From a cloud came a voice which said, “This is my Son, my chosen; listen to him.”
From his baptism to his death, Jesus’ experience summed up the whole and allowed him and us to see his path clearly.
The failure of the disciples to understand the transformation of Jesus set the stage for the teachings of Jesus. We are baptized today and are guided in our learning about this love that is held for all of us. The transformation, the transfiguration of the Messiah, where his face shone with Glory, is for us to think about as we make our transformations though our changes in life as well as through our struggles.
Is this stance unreachable? No, it is not—that is to be transformed.
How so? The law of the Old Testament is still with us on the tablets.
The New Testament has given us the gift of The Messiah’s love that we can stand on and depend upon. Our forgiveness of sins has been done for us through his death and Resurrection.
We are being transformed sometimes completely unaware as our heart tells God where we truly are in our relationship in growing through the love of God.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will put into your lap and mine this: The measure you give will be the measure you receive.
So, this is what you want? Really?