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Message Supplement for Sunday 23 February 2020: “Fantabulous Energy”

Welcome to Transfiguration Sunday, a time to consider Jesus’ true nature and God’s “fantabulous” transforming power (Matthew 17: 1-9).

The transfiguration story began as Jesus was trekking with three of his closest friends (Peter, James and John). After they reached a mountaintop, Jesus shared an extraordinary experience. The evocative word “transfiguration” describes Jesus’ displaying his core spiritual energy. God is variously described as Spirit and love, but here Jesus revealed visually his spiritual DNA. “[A]nd his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white” Matthew 17: 2). Such a fantastic scene might have appeared like a radiating star.

Next appeared the Old Testament prophets Moses and Elijah, who had been dead for hundreds of years. Jesus’ three friends saw these prophets speaking with Jesus and it’s an ongoing curiosity what they may have been discussing. Responding to all this, Peter spoke out, suggesting construction of three shrines. It’s understandable that Peter thought this was a holy place. Throughout history people have adored sacred spots as sites for pilgrimage and worship. Sometimes this process of shrines and pilgrimage goes berserk and people become obsessed with sacred places.

God frowned upon Peter’s idea to create another holy hotspot when 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 until after his death. Perhaps one lesson in all this is to resist the temptation to enshrine spiritual experiences into physical structures. Buildings and monuments can’t do justice to God’s presence. That’s why it’s crucial for people to obtain spiritual awakening to perceive the spiritual reality behind life’s façade. God’s voice calls to you in the same way as to Jesus’ three disciples: experience the transformation of your intimacy with the divine rather than memorializing it in stone or doctrine.

The transfiguration wasn’t long-lived, suggesting the transient nature of intense spiritual events. Some people who seek power twist teachings about spiritual gifts and concoct false experiences which undermine the reality of God’s presence. Jesus wasn’t simply putting on a show for entertainment. People of faith are empowered with God’s spirit, the source of wonders, but the point isn’t the sensationalism of a magic show and so-called faith healing parlor tricks. Instead, God directly empowers you for a life of holistic wellbeing (health in body, mind & spirit).

Once down from the mountain, Jesus’ band met the harsh reality of peoples’ sufferings. Spiritual highs won’t last, but life’s miseries need not undermine your relationship with God, who can elevate you over life’s negativity. Whatever gifts and blessings that God has for you, share it all, including with people who have been resistant to God, or those for whom life circumstances leave them stranded in valleys of sorrow or sickness. Whether on the mountain or in the valley, God can transform problems into possibilities.

Life is richer than what appears on the surface; you are invited to look deeper. Consider how the power of spirituality can shine through you beyond the façade of your earthly body. Underneath a veneer of skin you are blessed with incredible energy that you can leverage. How and when your spiritual vitality is realized depends on your willingness to recognize and use it. Dare to consider that Jesus’ transfiguration is already inside you, waiting to be unmasked after you release whatever is holding you back.

You needn’t trek up a mountain to find God. Faith activates your glowing witness here and now, such that you are a beacon of hope for a dark and hurting world. Your true, spiritual substance shines whenever you adopt loving attitudes and actions, also known as compassion. To unleash all that God has for you embrace your brothers and sisters of our one human family. Love your neighbor as yourself and follow the golden rule of doing to others as you would have them do to you.

As tempting as it is to covet dramatic religious experiences, the challenge is to remain motivated and energized regardless of life’s elevation. Being addicted to highs and creating artificial ones through substances, self-deception or bad relationships is not the preferred way.

Consider your potential to energize your faith and shine. Your transformation from the inside/out will forever change 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. Claim your share of the transfiguration as your faith becomes even more brilliant.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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