February 7, 2016
Stetson Memorial UMC
Sixth Sunday of the New Year
All Scripture is from the AMP Bible
2 Corinthians 5:17
Prayer for the Spirit’s leading…
A reading from the Gospel of Luke, chapter nine, verses twenty-eight through thirty-six…listen to the Word’s of Life from God to you and me, new creations in Christ…
How many of you have ever heard of Transformers? They are pretty cool. They are one thing at one moment and then something completely different the next. They kind of morph…so to speak…from one thing to the next. I think it would be pretty cool to be a transformer. I could be completely changed from one thing to the next in the blink of an eye…
Most times change or metamorphosisizing…that’s right, I made up my own word… takes a long time. Look at the butterfly; it takes a long time for it to become a beautiful feather on the wind. They start out as a caterpillar crawling on the ground. They live like that for a while and then it is time to begin the metamorphose of their lives. They crawl up a tree and cocoon themselves…can you imagine how they must feel. It must feel like have passed before they get to this point. Then they wait…morphing…changing until one day they break free and are the beautiful creatures we get to enjoy as fly on the wind displaying Gods beauty for all to see.
This whole Metamorphosisizing…what would it look like in our lives if we too could change from one thing to the next? How can we transform ourselves into something that is yet to be?
OK…so, we have epiphanies, about who God is as we remember our baptism when we remember also Jesus’ baptism in the waters of the Jordan River. As we sit by the well of God’s never ending goodness we can drink deep of the life-giving water resting assured that God is always there even if we don’t perceive His presence as we travel the road of least resistance…that being the road of God not of man. As we follow that road we will be transformed…transfigured into who God has created us to be.
Wait…wait…transformed…transfigured? What is that all about? I kind of like who I am already and now I am going to be transformed? It’s OK…it only hurts a little…
Today…in the Christian Calendar…we celebrate Transfiguration Sunday. This is the last Sunday of the year that is right before we begin the pilgrimage of Lent…how interesting that we celebrate this Sunday now just before Jesus transfigured the world with His sacrifice on the cross for ALL of humanity…
As I read the Luke scripture that talks about Jesus being transfigured I can only imagine what the disciples that were with Him thought. Jesus’ appearance changed and it may have been a little scary for them. All the sudden He shined with all this light around Him and His clothing was probably so bright they had a hard time focusing on the scene before them. Then Moses and Elijah showed up and they were shining pretty well themselves with glory. Then the voice…the voice from the cloud…the voice of God telling them who Jesus was and that they should do as He has taught them to do…how frightened and awed at the same time they must have been?
Change can be scary at times but in most cases…change for the better…change for our purpose…change for God is better than changing for the world… Romans 12:1-2 tells us:
12 [a]Therefore I urge you, [b]brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [c]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].(AMP)
We change because we are thankful and worship God for all He has done…is doing…or will ever do. It truly is an act of worship to and for Him. By turning from the world…making that change…that shift of our focus…we will hear God…we will know His will for our lives…we will shut out the noise and listen to the quiet voice of love and mercy.
Jesus showed humanity the way. He was the original but the world was and is not one to play “follow the leader”. Humanity seems to think that in order to be affective you need to “reinvent the wheel.” But the way of Christ followers is something completely different. Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us:
“Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; 2 and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”
We have it easy…all we have to do is to follow what Jesus did in His ministry. We don’t have to change anything…just follow what is already written. All we have to do is to do is love others and love God as Jesus did. As a matter of fact…Jesus loved and honored God so much that He didn’t think of Himself equal to God and emptied Himself of His deity and became a fragrant offering for something that He didn’t do but what humanity did and still continues to do. It really is that simple…allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our minds…not minds of this world but minds of the next…
The disciples were just every day ordinary men and women, just like you and me…nothing special about them. They were sinners and tax collectors. They were outcasts in their society. But…but…they were transformed…they allowed themselves to be recreated…transfigured so to speak…into men and women of faith and the church began…
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.