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Metamorphis

Concordia Lutheran Church
Transfiguration Sunday, February 19,2012


Mirrors of Glory!
2 Corinthians 3:12-18

† IN Jesus Name †

May the glory of the Lord, the Holiness we see and testify, so flood you with His mercy and peace, that you bring light to places where it has never seemed to shine!

• Imagine being there!
o The Awe,
The fear!
Both in the OldT/Gospel
o The Difference in the Epistle

I wish the technology of today had been available to the apostles. Imagine if we had a video of Jesus teaching the sermon on the mount? Imagine if we could see the before and after pictures of the paralytics, and lepers, of the reaction of the blind who could now see, and the crazed man who had lived among the tombs, now sitting quietly, resting in the Lord’s presence.

I have seen a number of paintings of what we celebrate today, the Transfiguration, but none could compare to what Peter and James and John witnessed. I think I would love to see a real time picture of it – one that didn’t see Jesus faded out in the light – but the light coming from Him make a clearer, more defined image, and oh to hear a recording of the conversation as Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus.

How incredible it would be to share in that awe… if only technology could accurately represent something so incredible!.... the picture just leaving us in awe…or a video – with the words that rolled out of heaven – the Father’s testimony to the power of God, revealed in Christ.

I wonder if such a video would communicate that awe in the same manner as being there, and if it did, would we know the apprehension, the fear that so paralyzed the apostles?

If we saw pictures on facebook of what they saw, would we be able to understand the reaction of the people of God in Moses time as well? The people who, so in awe of the glory of God reflected in Moses face, that they asked him to veil that glory. Then they would be able to face him, and hear of what God had revealed to them.

If only they had been able to stand in the light, to look to God directly, to not fear the light of His glory – but to rejoice as it lit up their faces, and His voice with its love strengthened their souls…

That’s what Paul was teaching the Corinthian people about in that reading today, a truth so incredible, so amazing, as it reveals love and mercy that changes everything, including complete changing our lives…

• Why the reaction
o Cockroaches in daylight
o Maybe we are afraid of getting stomped
o So we come out defensive, putting up fronts, trying to prove we can..
o So the covering – the denial – everything is okay! well – we can pretend it

One of the deacons, who is preaching on this passage this morning, came up with a great explanation for the reaction of the people of God, to the glory, to the incredible light of God’s presence, flooding the darkness of our lives.

He said people, caught in that light of God’s presnce, act just like cockroaches do when the light is turned on in the kitchen.

He’s absolutely right – most of us, like Israel, would try to fall back into the shadows, scrambling for cover –afraid that if we are seen, we will be trampled, or smashed, seen as worthless invaders who had to be dealt with. For Israel, that is so descriptive of their reaction – they won’t go near Moses – and he is simply one of their own – no more special, save that He spent some time In the presence of God, and returned to tell them about it. His reflection should have assured them – yet it caused a panic!

Occasionally you get a cockroach that doesn’t run and hide – in our first apartment I think Kay nicknamed him Peter… or maybe I did. Quite a sense of bravado he had, sitting there on the cutting board, as if we would tithe him some of the cheese, or leave him some scraps of food, as if he was a pet instead of who he was.

Sometimes I think we are like that – putting up a front, hoping that people see the bravado and confuse it for righteousness and a sense of belonging. Maybe instead of waiting for a piece of cheese, we bravely suggest that we set up tents….hoping that we can stay in the presence of the light, for while it terrifies, it also makes everything so clearly and incredibly well defined…

You see, it is impossible, in the presence of God, to be unaware . Unaware of His holiness, unaware of His Godliness. It is impossible to hide that which is perfect – or that which is not holy, but bound to sin. It is hard to admit that our lives aren’t perfect, when we see them in the same clarity God does….

And so we scatter, or we try to pretend we belong…

and like both Israel, and the three apostles, we are ruled by fear…

• I Corinthians Difference
o It is ripped away - it fades like Moses reflection
o The effect of stain glass – the brilliance, the beauty
o We take on the appearance of our master –
 And so often we are unaware of it..
We bring peace… joy, love…mercy/compassion…

It is at this point, we needed something to happen, something Israel was unable to do, something the apostles could not have ever anticipated, as they cowered in fear, trying to become one with the dirt, or be distracted by pounding tent stakes into it.

We need something done – that Paul describes so well,

14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

(take the veil from the sacrament – or Teo – uncover the baptismal font – if there is no communion)

We need God to do this – to take away that veil – so that we may clearly see Him, to grasp His presence, His glory is not one of fear, but that it has another purpose – the purpose we see in verse 18,

18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

You see, because the people didn’t hear God in the Old Testament as clearly, they couldn’t comprehend a God who came to them, exactly as they were, and loved them. He surely did – I can point out time after time, promise after promise of His love, of His fixing what is broken, or cleansing that which was marred, or bringing light to that which was hidden by shadow and darkness.

The apostles were no more ready to grasp that they were in the presence of Almighty, Holy, God. Yet, after the crucifixion, after the resurrection, the presence of God was one that brought great joy, for the veil is removed – the plan of God was seen in its completeness. And the light, which was feared because it would reveal our brokenness, becomes the source of our lives being healed, made hole.

It is like this – if you came in the sanctuary here, in the middle of the night, with the no light, these stain glass windows are more of a burden as they dim whatever light from the moon that might trickle through them. We are like these windows, and the darkness can overwhelm.

As the sun’s light starts to shatter the darkness, the windows take on different appearance, an almost mystical and the pictures – are by no means clear, and the diffused light is still one that is not yet warm or inviting. Yet in the fullness of the sun’s light – they tell of the story of God’s grace – they reflect the image’s of the Son’s powerful reach in our lives… and those who see them are amazed at their beauty, even as they struggle to comprehend what each picture means..

So to it is with us, the more He is our focus, the more that we look upon Him, and contemplate His love for us, the more we bear that image – as a mirror does, as the stained glass does… and they become part of image that is seen…

For in the Son’s light, God’s masterpiece of our lives is seen, Eyes still need to adjust to the light, but there is enough to be sure of, there is the work that is seen, and our trust, our faith in God to fulfill what He has begun in us is strengthened.

For we realize, we dwell in His warmth, His comfort, His healing, His peace.

The peace of the Father, which goes beyond all understanding, and guards our hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus!

AMEN!
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