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Transfiguration - Rabbi, it is good for us to be here

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Lord, into your Peace we are called and I pray that only truth is proclaimed and only truth heard - Amen

I don’t know about you but I am strangely attracted to ‘make over shows’

            And there are so many to chose from

                        TLC or ‘Home and Garden’ seem to be networks devoted to that TV genre

                                    Shows like ‘while you were out’

                                    Or ‘trading spaces’

                                    Or ‘what not to wear’

                                    Or ‘flip this house’

                                                Are very popular and some weekends they even having                                                        ‘marathon days’ where there are numerous back to back                                                       episodes

                                    We have our share of ‘Canadian content’ as well

                                                From ‘Holmes on homes’

                                                To ‘Diva on a dime’

If you have never seen any of these TV shows they are Home improvement or personal appearance improvement

            Often times they involve friends or family who get in on the action to help

                        or to surprise someone that they care about by outing them on national TV                         about some aspect that they don’t love about their appearance or their                            choices in home décor

                                    and the show is focused upon experts and a camera crew coming                                        for a short time to help in whatever area is lacking

            My favorite with out a doubt is “Extreme Make-over - Home edition’

                        And I will tell you why later

All of these shows have caught my attention many times

            So… I have wondered what it is that makes them so appealing

                        Why are they relevant to so many people?

Part of it, I believe, is that they tap into the ‘American Dream’ and its cousin the ‘Canadian Dream’

            The dream of making something out life

                        With hard work and the right knowledge and attitude - anything is possible

            Well if you were to boil that down a little further I think that what we are really    talking about is: “Hope”

                        Belief in a better thing - better way of life in the future

                                    …That is certainly one aspect

Another part of it is that in most of them are on a budget and generally not too large a budget

            The projects are attainable

                        We can easily see ourselves making something better with not too much                             invested maybe a little knowledge, time and elbow grease

                                    And we too can do it

Still another reason that they are popular is that they show a lot of ideas

            The home improvement versions walk you through what they are doing

                        And the personal appearance ones show you a lot of straight forward                                  practical tips

                                    We can get in on the action and we can often learn a great deal

                                                Or at least get the feeling that ‘we too’ can do

                                                            A popular home improvement store that sponsors a                                                               few of these shows has based their very motto on                                                                 this value

                                                                        “you can do it, we can help”

There is still one reason that I believe tops them all

            One reason that is the greatest attraction above all of these rational explanations

                        It is the same reason why many of us like to cheer for the underdog


            That reason is “transformation”…

                        In all of these shows ‘something’ or ‘place’ or ‘person’ is transformed

                                    This is extremely emotionally binding factor

                                                It captures:      Hopes  -  Fears              -  Ideals

                                                                        - lost or hidden or suppressed desires 

                                                                        - in many cases a hearts longing

Transformation or Transfiguration - is what our Gospel passage from Mark is all about

            And it is also what our Baptisms today are about

                        The passage is Mark declaring who Jesus really is

                                    Mark’s whole Gospel is about revealing - in stages - who Jesus is

It starts out with

            “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

                        The ‘good news’ or ‘gospel’ was a term that was reserved only for the                                Caesar of the day

                                    ‘Jesus’ - is mentioned to indicate his Humanness

                                                And ‘Christ’ to explain that he is the Messiah, the one that                                                  the Jews have been waiting for

                                                            And the ‘Son of God’ to make sure you know                                                                      exactly who he is and on what authority

So our reading today is a climatic moment in Mark gospel explanation of who Jesus is

            The passage today starts out with “six days later”…later from what

                        Well, most scholars conclude it is from Jesus’ revealing that he will die on              the cross and Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Messiah

And Jesus is transfigured before them

            With Cloths so white that no one on earth could bleach them

                        Clearly to show His divinity

            And there appeared to them Elijah and Moses

                        Talking with Jesus

                                    The writer of the Pentateuch - the Law

                                                And the greatest prophet

                        “Talking” - talking to show that they are physically there

            The Law and Prophets represented and yet after God spoke from the cloud

                        That “This is my Son, the beloved, listen to Him!”

                                    ‘Only Jesus’ remained

                                                Something for ‘supersessionists’ to think about

                        Only Jesus - that message: is very challenging for our worldly views today

            And how must our hearts be drawn to the words of God from the cloud

                        “This is my Son, the beloved, listen to Him!”

                                    “This is my Son, the beloved…” draws us right back to the                                                  beginning of Jesus’ adult ministry and His Baptism in the river                                            Jordan

                        “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

So… what does all this have to do with me, and you… and these wonderful children that are being baptized today

            Consider these details

                        “Jesus took with him, Peter and James and John and led them up a high                             mountain apart by themselves


                        “appeared to them

                                    and most importantly

                        “Then Peter said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good for us to be here

I have often wondered, since the original Greek would not have had punctuation and since most versions that you will read keep punctuation out of it - whether Peter was asking a question - “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here?

            But I believe that it is more profound to leave it as a statement

                        “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here!

We have Jesus, God in the flesh, Emanuel - God amongst us

            Bringing… leading… revealing… … To Us

Making sure we understand exactly - who he is … to us… for us … in our presence

            We are part of God’s plan - brought along for the ride

I think that whole passage actually hinges on Peter’s words told as a statement

            It is without a doubt about Jesus being transfigured

                        Present with Moses - the Law, and Elijah - the prophets

God’s cloud, and ‘words of affirmation’, and command to ‘listen to Jesus’                                     And only Jesus remaining

But I think our life rests more on the fact that:  God values us and wants us part of His plans

            “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here!

Transformation is one reason that I like ‘Extreme makeover - home edition’ the best

            As they always take some family that has suffered great hardships and there is a    great transformation

                        And there is a real community effort to work to completely transform their                         homes

                                    And at the unveiling - there are often thousands from the                                                     community present to see the impact on the well-deserving family

But mainly because of another reason:

            I think of it a parallel to God’s Abundant Love

                        In this show there is no slim budget - they completely overhaul everything

From the structure to all the decorating and furnishing, to installing any necessary special needs: like an elevator in the house for a member that is in a wheelchair or special ventilation for someone that has respitory challenges

            It is truly extreme and I see and it as a wonderful illustration to God’s Abundant Love

                        “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who                          believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”

Today as we look to the solid proof that Mark provides of who Jesus the Christ really is

            Looking to the transfiguration

                        Know as St. Paul often writes that we to be “In Christ”

                                    We are to be transformed from one thing to “a life in Christ”

            It is great that we are going to baptize these three beautiful creations into ‘that’

                        Into God’s family

                                    Where we, as an entire community gathered, are going to make                                           those same claims - as we join in saying the baptismal covenant

                                                I love baptisms because I can, with everyone else gathered,                                                  make those claims - that we are all born to make

                        So when the moment comes - do so with excitement and passion and                                  thanksgiving

                                    Because - “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here!


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