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Sunday Message for 3 March 2019: “Spiritual Supernova”

Welcome to Transfiguration Sunday, a time to consider Jesus’ true nature as revealed through a miraculous mountaintop shining.

The transfiguration story begins as Jesus was trekking with three of his closest friends (Peter, James and John). After they reached the mountaintop, Jesus did something extraordinary. The evocative word “transfiguration” describes Jesus’ radiating with 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 fantastic imagery sparks amazement, creating a scene like a mini-star going supernova.

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 to consider 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 objects for pilgrimage and worship. Sometimes this process of shrines and pilgrimage goes berserk and people become obsessed with sacred places.

It’s a good point to stop in the narrative and ponder that humans are physical beings hosting a God-given spirit, which is also humanity’s core. This suggests that people can attain a life of wellbeing if they focus on receiving and sharing God’s essence of love, which surpasses      religious structures and monuments. During Jesus’ transfiguration, God frowned upon Peter’s idea to create another holy hotspot. The Almighty’s voice angrily pierced the air to direct attention back to Jesus, the incarnation of love. Upon hearing God’s thunderous, rebuking 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.

A possible implication of God’s chastising of Peter, James and John is that it doesn’t do much good to create another church, temple or synagogue if doing so covers up more than it reveals. Physical holy places 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 power and beauty of your intimacy with the divine rather than memorializing it in stone or doctrine.

What does the transfiguration mean today? The event wasn’t long-lived, suggesting that transient nature of intense spiritual encounters. As to demonstrating spiritual power on-demand, some people twist teachings about spiritual gifts and concoct false experiences which, ironically, can undermine the reality of God’s transformational presence. People of faith are empowered with God’s spirit, the source of wonders, but the point isn’t the sensationalism of a magic show.

What is the miracle of transformation in your life? Consider that God is energizing you and that one of your primary tasks is to unleash your tremendous potential. Consider how God will renew your spirit and equip you to share love and truth. Whatever gifts and blessings that God has for you, bring it all down the mountain and share it with others, including those who have been resistant to God, or those for whom life circumstances leave them stranded in valleys of sorrow or sickness.

Once down from the mountain, Jesus’ band met the harsh reality of peoples’ suffering. Spiritual highs won’t last. Life is uncertain and difficult, but God elevates your spirit and transforms problems into possibilities, if you persist. Jesus’ transfiguration also suggests that spirit has a deep source, exceeding all externals. Life is richer than just glancing on the surface. This accounts for why we are also encouraged to look beyond peoples’ externals and to see in the face of strangers God’s loving smile.

Underneath a veneer of skin humans are blessed with incredible power. How and when this spiritual power is realized may depend as much on the willingness to recognize and use it as much as on God’s ability to provide it. Jesus wasn’t simply putting on a show for entertainment. Dare to consider that Jesus’ transfiguration is already inside you, waiting to be unmasked after you release fear, ignorance and anger. As God’s precious child, you are invited to look deeper and discern your spiritual nucleus which other precious humans also possess.

You needn’t trek up a mountain and speak with resurrected prophets. Your faith activates God’s presence here and now. As you shine, you become a beacon of hope for a dark and hurting world. It is also reassuring that your true, spiritual substance appears whenever you practice compassion, which is love in action. To unlock all that God has for you, embrace your brothers and sisters of your 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. God invites all of us to celebrate energetically while also attending to life’s responsibilities. You, I and everyone else can achieve a more vibrant connection with God as we strive for it.

What has God revealed to you on your journey and how can you share the joy with others? As you consider spiritual renewal, think about your potential to energize your faith and shine as a spiritual guide. You might experience a form of internal transfiguration that forever changes you. As a child of God you’ve already been revitalized from soul-sleep to a spiritual awakening. As you continue your journey, let your faith blaze forth like a supernova, revealing your spiritual nature and God’s presence through you.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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