St. Augustine of Hippo


Episcopal Church

 


“Transfiguration: Embracing Our Mission To Bring The World To Jesus”


February 11, 2018


The Reverend Nathanael Saint-Pierre 


Have you ever reached rock bottom? Have you already reached a point in your life you’ve considered a mountaintop? What was the difference? What was it and how did you feel when you reached rock bottom? What was it and how did you feel when you reached your mountaintop?

(Take a few minutes and turn to someone sitting close to you and share a time when you felt you were at rock bottom and another time when you were at your mountaintop.)

Jesus took three friends with him and led them to a high mountain to pray. When they got there, what they saw blew their minds. It was not just his epiphany (God revealing Jesus to the world), it was an epiphany for those who were with him.

Can we experience an Epiphany in the world today?

In this chapter of the Gospel of Mark we are not told what happened to Andrew. Maybe he had to stay home. Maybe he didn’t need to see Jesus transfigured in order to believe in his messianism; whereas, Peter, James and John needed to see him in his glory for their faith to be strengthened.

I won’t try to explain Jesus’ transfiguration to you. I don’t feel competent to attempt. But I’d like instead to invite you to reflect on a place you want to be where you are at peace with yourself and with others. A place where you are not yet, a place you would want to be. A place that will drastically change who you are. I want to invite you to follow Jesus on a high mountain so that the light of God can reflect on us.

I have personally known rock bottom, a place where my vision was dimmed and everything seemed to be working against me, I did not have the means to support myself, I was not doing something I loved, I didn’t think people loved me, I was depressed and feeling miserably lonely. Whatever I attempted was misunderstood, in my humble opinion. I thought then I could do everything by myself and lamentably, I failed. I was fighting the wrong fight and seeking what the world describes as success. Have you been to that place too? How many of you have had that experience?

Going to the high mountain with Jesus is to realize what God is calling us to be and what mission God has entrusted to us. When I followed Jesus to the high mountain, like James, John and Peter, I saw him for who he is. By seeing him I also found myself. What the world  describes  as  success stopped  being my obsession and I felt free to pursue something more meaningful and deeper that only God could lead me through.

When exposed to darkness, when exposed to the negativity of this world, we are enslaved by oppressive systems. This is a world that is asking us a lot more than what we have to give. Following Jesus is to enter a world in which Jesus has already given his life to redeem us. The ransom has been paid and it is a time of grace that is extended to us. Going to the high mountain is to distance oneself from the noises and confusion of the secular world to retreat and reflect. It is to fall on our knees to find guidance in Jesus. It is to surrender. It is to become instruments of peace. Not an artificial peace made of demonstration of engines of mass destruction, nuclear warheads, and guns. Authentic peace that comes from hearts that respect the dignity of every human being. I deeply believe transfiguration to be multiple moments of our lives. Moments of peace that we want to be long-lasting. Moments when we feel like saying, "Let’s make three booths" where we can live according to God’s law (Moses), according to God's proclaimed words (the prophets represented by Elijah) but both cannot offer the grace of the one who embodied the law and the prophets and became the incarnate word: Jesus himself. I can hear from the top of the mountain the voice of God saying: “Listen to him.”

Today, as a church, we also celebrate this mission of redemption. We can only share Christ crucified who became sinner to take upon him our sins. His mission of redemption is not a mission of colonization, a mission of self-glorification, a mission of enslavement through increase of the dependency of those we want to see saved. Our global mission is for all humans to find their self-dignity in Christ: the light we all want to reflect.