A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sermon (February 7/Transfiguration Sunday) by Rev. Robert McDowell - "A Shining Example"

     Transfiguration Sunday comes just at the right time on the church calendar. It’s the perfect bridge between the Sundays following the celebration of Christmas and the more reflective and somber season of Lent.
     Transfiguration Sunday is considered one of the more special Sundays on the church calendar because this is the day that we celebrate when Jesus was transfigured and the glory of God shone upon him.
     And spoiler alert…Jesus’ transfiguration serves as a little hint of Easter when God’s glory will surround him as he emerges from the tomb in his resurrected body. 
      When Jesus was transfigured, he was showing us that God sent him to be a shining example of God’s love for the world. Transfiguration Sunday invites us to think about how we are to be God’s shining examples with the people we meet.
     The Kappa Phi Club is a national sisterhood for college women that began in 1916 in Kansas.
     The Phi Chapter here at Ohio University was started in 1928. There are chapters at over 25 colleges across the country. Our church is privileged to be a host church for Kappa Phi.
     They meet every week here in our church. The Kappa Phi ladies are shining examples of God’s love in our university community.
     I have asked them to take a few minutes to share how they are serving as God’s shining lights in our community.

     The members of Kappa Phi are a shining example of what it means to live out God’s purpose in our community. They also provide the “best baked potato with all the toppings” fundraiser this side of the Hocking River. They will be offering lunch for us again on Sunday, February 21st as part of our upcoming Capital Campaign Vision Preview meeting that day.
     On this transfiguration Sunday, God wants each of us to be his shining examples. One of the best ways to be shining examples is by participating in a small group where we can share our faith with each other. I have found that when I am in a small group where people share their faith, it encourages me to be more of a shining example for God.
     We are offering seven new small group opportunities during the five weeks of the season of Lent and they will all begin meeting next week. Before leaving today, consider signing up for one of these small groups. These groups are designed to help us grow in what it means to be shining examples for God.
     Thankfully, the church has been blessed with a long history of people who have been shining examples for God. One of these shining examples was the Christian saint, known as Antony.
     Athanasius, who also was himself a saint and a shining example of God’s love, wrote a biography on the life of Antony. 
     In his biography, Athanasius summed up Antony’s life in a beautiful way by asking this very simple rhetorical question about him, “Who has ever met Antony grieving, and failed to go away rejoicing?” 
     I love that rhetorical question. May that question refer to all of us!
·     Who has ever met Dave & Sally Bayless grieving, and failed to go away rejoicing?
·     Who has ever met Michelle Shively grieving, and failed to go away rejoicing?
·     Who has ever met Wendy Merb-Brown grieving, and failed to go away rejoicing?
·     Who has ever met Helen Slater grieving, and failed to go away rejoicing?
·     Who has ever met Giles Lee grieving, and failed to go away rejoicing?
     Sorry that I don’t have time to insert four hundred names into that rhetorical question, but I think we all get the point.

     On this Transfiguration Sunday, may all of us be Christ’s shining examples, so that when people come to us grieving, they will go away rejoicing, because they are able to see the love of Christ in us.

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