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Sunday, August 6, 2017
The Transfiguration of Christ, superseding the Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Sermon - Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
This Transfiguration is in many ways a strange event, certainly the like of which the world had never Certainly an exception to Ecclesiastes 1:9’s The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. For this truly was something new with the Son!
Consider the words from the Collect, wherein we ask God who … grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty …
The Collect does not take us where I, at least, would think it would. We are asking to have our souls be able to withdraw from the noise, clamor and evil of the world which Bishop Cranmer summarizes as the disquietude of this world. To withdraw means to separate, more on that later. But to where? To where we might let our souls behold the King in his beauty. To behold the King in his beauty is to know the Peace of God. That Peace which replaces the disquietude with quietude. To be at peace and rest, something we long for and can only achieve with God’s help via the Holy Ghost.
That leads us into Peter’s words as he nears the end of his time here on earth. He is at peace with what counts and separated in many respects from the disquietude of the world, set aside, or in another word, holy. He tells those who have depended on him for guidance he will soon be leaving them for home; they must carry on with the initial guidance he and his companions have given them. He reminds them they have been given the truth and the light of our Lord Jesus Christ, not a bunch of what he calls cunningly devised fables which were designed to keep them subject to the ways of this world. He reminds them, and us, this Lord Jesus Christ whom we follow was called My Beloved Son out loud by God Himself at His baptism and again on the Mount at the Transfiguration when we were specifically commanded to listen to him and by inference follow him. For what good is listening only?
This, of course, leads to Luke’s account of the Transfiguration. Luke the Physician is often Luke the Historian and this is one of those cases. Jesus went up to a mountain; interesting he did not go to the temple, is it not? He took Peter and John and James, those to whom he was closest, and went up to pray. He knew where he was going, He always did. While He prayed, His appearance and clothing changed. This is the outward transfiguration. You can be sure when He left for the mountain, his clothing was not white and glistering, for in those days nothing was. There he met with Moses and Elias, not dead but alive. They talked of the upcoming crucifixion, but once again Peter’s presence was slipping away as he fell asleep, much like he would at Gethsemane. When Peter awoke, he suggested making three tabernacles or monuments to Jesus, Moses and Elias. That must have amused Jesus to no end. Then came the Cloud of God and the VOICE! This is my beloved Son: hear him. Then, there was just Jesus and his band.
So, what to make of this?
And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
Action counts. For by their actions ye shall know them.
Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail. The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.
The time is now, not tomorrow. The time has come, indeed. How will you ACT?
It is by our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God