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Message for 26 February 2017–” ‘Fantabulous’ Energy”

Welcome to Transfiguration Sunday, a time to consider Jesus’ true nature and God’s “fantabulous” transforming power. We’re invited to embrace God’s marvelous Spirit so that none of us remain stuck in life’s pit. The lectionary focuses on Luke 9:28-36, where we find Jesus trekking with three of his closest friends (Peter, James and John). These four were in for a hike up a mountain whose location and name are not certain today. Jesus had taken trips on, around and through all sorts of terrain. On this day, Jesus and his companions would soon be caught-up in something unique.

Once on the mountaintop, Jesus did something extraordinary. The evocative word “transfiguration” describes what happened when Jesus revealed his true nature, what we might call his spiritual DNA. We already knew that God was Spirit, but here we witness Jesus’ radiant glory. “[A]nd his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white” Matthew 17: 2). Such fantastic imagery sparks amazement. Perhaps science will reveal that spirit is a special form of energy. Whatever the case, do feel that God is energizing you with spiritual light and power? Yearn for it and you’ll receive blessings beyond expectation.

Next on that mountain, Moses and Elijah appeared talking with Jesus. These two Old Testament prophets, dead for hundreds of years, were seen having a private chat with Jesus. Upon seeing this magnificent trio, Peter responded by suggesting construction of three religious monuments, or mini-temples/shrines. It’s understandable that Peter thought this was a holy place. We humans like to create sacred spots as places of pilgrimage and worship. As physical beings hosting a spirit, we sometimes forget our true nature and focus too much on the outside.

God frowned upon Peter’s idea to create another holy hotspot because the Almighty’s voice pierced the air to direct attention back to Jesus. After hearing God’s thunderous words, Peter James and John fell to the ground as if fatally struck. When they recovered, Moses and Elijah had vanished and Jesus told his disciples to not spread news of what happened on that mountain. Perhaps a lesson here is that we must resist the temptation to enshrine our spiritual experiences into more sacred structures. Given God’s chastising of Jesus’ three disciples, we might conclude that creating another church, another temple or synagogue misses the point, which is that God is always with us, and that we must accept spiritual awakening to perceive the glorious reality behind the confusion. Let us desire to experience the beauty of the moment rather than encasing it in stone.

Do you wonder what the transfiguration means today? The transfiguration is so beyond our ordinary experience that it risks losing meaning. The transfiguration wasn’t long-lived, suggesting that transient nature of intense spiritual events. While on earth, we don’t seem made to withstand continual exposure to overpowering stimuli. Nonetheless, people of faith are empowered with God’s Holy Spirit, the source of wonders. What is the miracle of transformation in your life? Is there anything that God can reveal as to renew your spirit and better equip you to share the Gospel of love? This is what it all boils-down to.

Once down from the mountain, Jesus’ band met the harsh reality of peoples’ sufferings as do we. Our relationship with God can elevate us above our problems on occasion and remind us that we’re aspiring to a destiny greater than life’s negativity. God’s promises remind us that we needn’t be caught in a life-sucking abyss. God elevates our spirit and transforms our problems into possibilities if we’re willing to recognize and claim God’s presence. Further, Jesus’ shining suggests that spirit is far greater than what appears externally. Life is richer than just glancing on the surface of things. We are invited to look deeper and see our common spiritual nature.

Let’s contemplate how the power of spirituality can shine through us beyond the façade of physicality. We don’t have to trek up a mountain to shine. Our faith activates our glowing witness here and now, such that we are beacons of hope for a dark and hurting world. This is the profound aspect of social justice, which exceeds mere social activism and identity politics. It is also reassuring that our true, spiritual substance shines whenever we cultivate loving attitudes and actions. To unleash all that God has for us requires that we follow God and embrace our brothers and sisters of our one human family.

As tempting as it is to covet dramatic experiences, our challenge is to remain motivated and energized regardless of life’s elevation. Being addicted to highs and creating artificial ones through substances or bad relationships is not the preferred way. We’re invited to celebrate God’s glories while also attending to life’s responsibilities. We can yearn for and achieve a more vibrant connection with God if only we work at it. What has God revealed to you on your journey and how can you share the joy with others? People need to hear what God is doing in your life, what God has done for you, and the expectation of what promises await.

As you consider spiritual renewal, think about your potential to energize your faith and shine forth as a guide to those seeking God. You might experience a form of transformation that forever changes you. Can you claim “fantabulous” energy, promises and possibilities? As a child of God you’ve already been revitalized from soul-sleep to a spiritual awakening. As you continue your journey, let your light so shine that people will see God’s radiance through you.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey