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AUDIO and TEXT of Sermon Preached 2/10/13- "Until My Change Comes"

click here for AUDIO

 

Sermon Preached by

The Rev. Fulton Porter, III

  The Transfiguration of Our Lord,

February 10, 2013

at

St. Thomas Episcopal Church

Luke 9:28-36

 

Until My Change Comes

 

In the name of God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost, Amen.

 

If we are honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that we are holding out and holding our breath waiting for something to change.  We live everyday in the hopes that tomorrow will somehow be brighter and the day would somehow be different and the people we deal with would somehow get some sense and the boss we work for would somehow learn how to lead and money in our bank accounts would somehow multiply and our health would somehow get better and our marriage would somehow be fixed and our relationships would somehow be mended and all our hopes and dreams will converge and materialize in the realm of reality.

 

If we are honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that there are some prayers which we have prayed which are still unanswered and it is hard to understand why God’s promises to us as his children have not yet materialized.  We pay our tithes.  We come to church every Sunday and have given Jesus our heart.  And we wonder when our change will come.  Because we thought, one might say, when we came in relationship with God that we would have abundant life.  Then we question God.  I thought that I would have abundant life?  I thought that You would keep me in perfect peace?  I thought that when I started paying my tithes to this church you would open up a window and pour out a blessing that I would not have enough room to receive it?  Yet I don’t see any abundant life.  I don’t see any peace.  I don’t see any blessings flowing.  I don’t see any windows cracked or doors opening.  I see folk who don’t even go to church and they seem to have more money.  They seem to have more friends.  They seem to have more peace.  They seem to have more of everything.  And so we ask the question of God, “when is my change coming?”

 

Everybody wants happiness and paradise and joy and excitement and paradise, but we are looking for things that only God can give us.  In fact many of us when we don’t see our change coming try to orchestrate our own change, our own joy.  When we don’t see our change coming too quickly so we create our own fake joy.  We get into relationships that become fake joy. We start smoking some fake joy.  We hang out in fake joy places and with fake joy crowds and we buy fake joy clothes and talk fake joy talk.  And the bottom line is that we are searching for something only found in God.

 

And so we are waiting for a miracle.  We are waiting for something big to happen.  We are waiting for a huge transformation.  We long for our lives to be transfigured and made more beautiful and more exciting and more power filled.  We are waiting for something to give  and something magnificent to happen; something just as magnificent as what happened to Jesus on the mountain when Peter, John and James witnessed a glimpse of glory. His face changed.  His clothes became dazzling white.  And God spoke out of the heavens and declared, “This is my son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

 

Change. Transformation. Transfiguration.  The word, “transfigured,” is very important. It comes from a familiar Greek word that is known to us: “metamorphosis.”   It means to completely change or transform such as a cocoon transforms into a butterfly or a tulip bulb transforms into a glorious tulip blossom.  Jesus’ body was transformed from an earthly body into a heavenly body,  from a human body into a resurrection body.  It is the teaching of the Bible that our bodies, too, shall be transformed in heaven and that our heavenly bodies will be glorious.  But we need to be transformed and transfigured right here and right now.

 

Yes, you believe that Jesus is the son of God, but has you life been transfigured?  Yes, you believe that God raised him from the dead, but has your attitude been transfigured?  Yes, you are on your way to heaven but are you living in hell right now because you have not been transformed and transfigured?  Yes, Jesus loves you, but have you allowed him to transfigure your distorted nature into his divine will?  Yes, you come to church once a week, but do you leave the same way that you come?

 

Transfiguration!  There is something about us that is not the same.  There is something about us that is shining and new.  There is something about us that has overcome the old and sinful self and now walks in light, in exposure, in honesty and not darkness.

 

The problem is that we have a tendency to blame our lack of transfiguration, our stunted growth, our inability to move higher and deeper, our staying in a rut; we have a tendency to always blame it on someone else, so we spend our lives waiting for someone else to change so we can be happy.

We are waiting on someone else to change so we can be fulfilled.  We are waiting on someone else to be transformed so we can finally live a full life.

 

The problem is that we are sometimes so caught up in other people changing and being transfigured that we miss our own opportunity for our mountaintop experience focused on somebody else’s faults and focused wrongly on our transformation being dependent on their behavior.  “If she would just act right and stop doing what she is doing.”  No, we need to look at how we are acting.  “If they would just…”  No, if we would just…   We say, “he needs Jesus.” No, we need Jesus.  “She needs to get herself together.”  No, we probably need to get ourselves together.

 

It is true, that we can find ourselves in perilous predicaments from which we need deliverance.  It is true that we may find ourselves in toxic relationships which abused and misuse us.  It is true that we can be in oppressive situations from which only the savior can extricate us.  And so we pray for a change in our situation and deliverance from things over which we have no control.  We pray for God to help us to hold out, help us to make it, until change comes.  Racism. Help us to hold out.  War.  Help us to hold out.  Sexism.  Help us to hold out.  Natural Disaster.  Help us to hold out.  Storms of life.  Help us to hold out.

 

But all are not situations from which our deliverance is dependent on forces outside our control.  A great deal of the issues for which we ask God for perseverance to endure come not from things out of our control, but from the choices we make and our refusal to be transfigured by the God who loves us; a refusal to allow our minds to be renewed and our spirits and bodies to be made new.  Credit cards charged up on foolishness.  Change it now.  Too mean and bitter.  Change it now  Unforgiving and resentful.  Change it now.  Participating in destructive behavior.  Change it now.  No need to need to ask the Lord to help you to hold out, but ask God to give you the strength to change, to be transformed; to allow God’s power to transfigure your life. 

 

Reinhold Neibur perhaps expressed it best when he prayed:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

 

And the key to being transformed is perhaps best expressed right here.  For our text tells us, “while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes were dazzling white.”  You who are waiting on your change, I dare you to spend some time in prayer.  Waiting on your change to come?  Waiting on your situation to change?  Waiting on the courage to change yourself?  I dare you to pray, for prayer changes things.  I dare you to pray on, until victory comes.  Pray on, until your Jericho walls come tumbling down.  Pray on until the darkness is lifted.  Pray on until powers and principalities are defeated.  Pray on, until a cold and callous heart is melted.  Pray on until God heals you.  Pray on, until God blesses you.  Pray on until your enemies have been made your footstool.  Pray on until your relationships are repaired.  Pray on until your marriage is fixed.  Pray on until God’s kingdom comes on earth.  Pray on until your wayward child returns.  Pray on until fear is replaced with fortitude and pray on until your change comes and you can face anything, endure anything, withstand anything, carry and bear up under anything.

 

Lord, help me to hold out until my change, my transformation, my transfiguration comes.

 

Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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