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What transforms you?

March 3, 2013

What transforms you?
In the book Les Miserables, Victor Hugo writes, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” One could add that when we look into the eyes of another, especially one who is suffering, we also see the face of God. When we interact with others, when we honesty desire to nurture a relationship with another, then we feel an imperative to respond to their needs as they are drawn to respond to our needs. An important aspect in our response to God’s mission is that we are called to be in a mutual relationship with one another. Remember that in our baptismal covenant we declare that we will strive to respect the dignity of every human being. We cannot respect the dignity of another if the relationship is one sided.
Since the beginning of time, people have responded to God’s love in different ways. We all have travelled to different places around this our island home, but how have we shared the Good News of Christ to those who have not heard the gospel?
How have we in each of our own faith walks shared the gospel or stood up for those on the fringes of society? Many may call the latter “living the Gospel.”
There have been those throughout history who have sacrificed good-paying jobs, a comfortable lifestyle and even their own lives as they respond to God’s call to seek and serve Christ through all people. There still continues to be people who respond to God’s call by living across cultural, linguistic and economic boundaries as missionaries of the church.
Responding to people’s physical needs is very natural reaction, and Jesus calls us to do it. But we should never forget that our first call is to be in relationship with others and to respond to God’s call for reconciliation. We are called to listen to one another’s stories.
We are not all called to travel across continents or to visit prisoners, or lepers, or refugees, or shut-ins, but we are all called to love our neighbor as ourselves. Having faith in our own faith, trusting in God, as Paul states in Corinthians, “We have such a hope, we act with great boldness.” We should have that boldness that comes from the realization that we are all children of God and that God loves us all more than we can ask or imagine. Whatever we do, God will always be there with us, God will always love us and God’s arms are wrapped tightly around us.
“Doing” is important, but “being” is the very essence of any and every mission. We are called to share the physical and spiritual gifts that we have with others, and the disparity of wealth in this country and around the world is a tragedy that we should be addressing unceasingly. However, reminding others that they are loved and that they are not forgotten is also important and reaches to the very core of what God is calling us to do.
Whether we are helping in a food pantry in our local community, participating in mission trips across the world, or living amongst another culture for many years, it is the love for the other that is at the very core of our mission.
Our Exodus and Luke lessons this morning tell us about how intimate experiences with God transforms us to the very core of our being and how the world can react to our transformation.
In the Exodus story, the Children of Israel were scared to look upon the face of Moses after his intimate encounter with God. Why? It is very simple, the Light of God was escaping from every place that it could. Moses didn’t look like himself. Moses was displaying his personal experience with God. The Children of Israel were not quite sure if they could have the same experience, or if they really wanted to.
Have you ever experienced the “light” in your personal journey? Forget that. Here is a better question. Have the people you have met in your journey through life, experience God’s light beaming from you? The conversations that I have had with you I can honestly say that I have seen that light from you. Sharing that light is beyond our control.
In the Luke text, Our good friend “Open Mouth and insert Foot” Peter apparently could not help himself. Peter was so overwhelmed by the “Light,” he just wanted to be very active in worship in the Light that he wanted to build three tabernacles right then. We are told there was “a cloud came and overshadowed them; and the were terrified as they entered the cloud.” Why were they so scared? They had the “light” in their midst. That cloud was so much more wasn’t it? The “cloud” made it hard to see the “light” -Jesus. Peter was on this emotional roller-coaster. A week earlier he was a convert to the way, and then experienced the transfigured Jesus. Then… Peter and the others reality set in and they were scared that Jesus’ transfiguration also change them. Oh no! What are they going to do now they were not the same people that they once were? Jesus transforms and transfigures each of us daily. And the “light” we receive… we have to share that light with the world, both individually and corporately as the body of Christ.
How can we do that?
We are called to Serve God in all people and throughout all creation, even in the dark places of our lives. We are called through our baptisms, to stand up for those who are being oppressed and those who abuse our planet. Corporately, we can do much more that we can individually. Yet we are, more often than not, called individually. We need to take Jesus’ example and cause justice in all our actions publicly and privately. When we do these actions… we share glimpses of God’s Kingdom breaking forth all around us. To paraphrase Hugo’s comment from earlier, “To love” is to see God throughout ALL creation, and on the face of those we meet and they see it on our faces. Let us not harden our hearts. Let us open our hearts to new possibilities through God’s grace to all of creation. May we end oppression and reunite one another to God’s love.
Let us pray.
Creator God strengthen your people to stand together with open hearts to hear the voice of those that are being oppressed. May we provide a voice for those that do not have a voice. Where the world can be transformed by your daily light. We ask this for the sake of Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ and with You and the unity of the Holy Spirit can truly worship you, One God, now and forever more. Amen.

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From → jimmyahornjr

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