Transfiguration Sunday - "Listen To Him"
Today is Transfiguration Sunday, the end of Epiphany, the last short bridge we must cross before entering into our journey of the Season of Lent.
This Sunday, we are confronted with the truth about who Jesus is and what we intend to do about that startling and fantastic fact.
The passage of Scripture that we will be studying today contains a story where a couple of the disciples get a glimpse of who Jesus is- and they don't get it.
More on that in a moment.
But first, let me share something that might seem a little convoluted at first--but stick with me; it will all make sense in a bit.
Sometimes the experience of glory is too much for us. Sometimes, it's overwhelming when we get a glimpse of God's presence around us. Sometimes we don't know what to do when we see Jesus for who Jesus really is.
I decided to take a page from Joel Osteen today---hear me out, hear me out. He always has a joke in every one of his sermons.
I'll avoid the obvious thing I could have said here about how the whole sermon might be a.... nope. Not going to say it.
Anyway, I have a joke:
A brilliant magician was performing on an ocean liner. But every time he did a trick, the Captain's parrot would yell, "It's a trick. He's a phony. That's not magic." Then one evening during a storm, the ship sank while the magician was performing. The parrot and the magician ended up in the same lifeboat. For several days they just glared at each other, neither saying a word to the other. Finally the parrot said, "OK, I give up. What did you do with the ship?
The reality of the moment was just too much for the parrot, you see. It didn't compute.
Let me illustrate this in another way.
A few years ago, I read about a phenomenon that occurred when people watched the first Avatar movie in 3-D.
As they were being surveyed after watching the movie, a considerable number of those surveyed indicated that when they were lost in the film's outstanding color and fantastic cinematography, they would often feel the urge to take off their glasses and look around them.
To a person, those surveyed who responded with this observation said that they suffered an emotional letdown when they were confronted with the fact that what they were experiencing was not the grey, shadowy reality where they were sitting.
To put it another way, the brilliant color and beautiful environs of the fantastic and utterly imaginary world of Pandora in the movie were so compelling that when people were forced to take off their 3D glasses and realized their feet were stuck to the floor in a dingy movie theater, in a dingy mall, in a dingy sort of world... they were bummed.
Some of you might be thinking to yourself, "Are you serious? Who are these jackwagons that deserve a trip to Namby-Pamby land?"
According to the CNN study---ordinary people, just like you and me.
I get this. I lived in Chicago for four years, and I remember after a particularly long winter where it had been weeks since I'd seen sunlight, I found myself driving through the downtown streets, staring at the dirty piles of snow on the sidewalk and dreaming of Key West.