"Six days later Jesus took with him Peter and the brothers James and John and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus: his face was shining like the sun, and his clothes were dazzling white." (Matthew 17:1-2)
Remember the pinwheels of your youth? I was especially fond of the ones that came with hollow plastic handles filled with little candy pebbles. Two treats in one! You could eat the candy then hang your pinwheel out the car window and watch its magic. (I've been especially reminded of those memories as I've enjoyed the antics of Maxwell the Pig with his pinwheels in the GEICO television commercials). Recently Patti and I bought four pinwheels and placed them on the ends of a flower basket hanger in the yard. We thought the pinwheels might keep someone from walking into the hanger during the months when it didn't hold flowers.
Yesterday I paused to watch the pinwheels. As the wind began to catch in its sails the pinwheel gradually turned until the colors started to blur into one another.
As the wheel spun faster, the scalloped edges of the sails began to blur and disappear.
Then, as the pinwheel picked up more speed the scalloped edges were transformed into a perfect circle and the the individual sails melded into a seemingly flat, multicolored wheel.
And finally... the wheel spun so fast that everything turned to WHITE!
This is not trick photography. What you see is exactly what the eye could see as the pinwheel whirled around in the strong winds. What the eye saw was a product of the wind's force, the light reflected, and the intricate construction of the human eye. All of these components worked together for the scalloped-edged, multicolored pinwheel to be transfigured into a white circular disk. Wow!
The story of the transfiguration of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (as well as the Gospels of Luke and Mark) is the story of the holiness of God being manifested in and reflected from Jesus for the disciples to see and carry with them. Wow! What they experienced was a product of the working of Divine reflection and their need to see and experience God through the lens of their humanity. The Light of God's holiness was reflected from Jesus for the disciples to see and carry so that it might keep them through their difficult journey ahead and inspire them for their ministry.
I am convinced that the world needs to see the holiness of God reflected from each of us. It's tricky to talk about holiness. As soon as we try we're often misinterpreted as meaning we're some sort of "holier than thou" group of people. Maybe it's in part a result of that fear of being mislabeled and dismissed as hypocrites that we cower from attempting to live in such a way that we reflect the holiness of God. Maybe it's that same fear that keeps us from standing against the efforts of culture to normalize sinful behavior. Are we afraid to speak against unhealthy, sinful behavior when we see it because we're afraid we'll be dismissed as hypocrites? Last night I saw a commercial on television for a fast-food chain that was nothing less than what many would consider soft-porn. It's wrong! Why was it on my television? No, it's not okay. It's flat out unhealthy, sinful, and dangerous because it seeks to convey a message that says that sort of exploitive behavior is normal and healthy when over time the behavior contributes to the destruction of relationships and lives.
We are called to reflect the holiness of God - not our own holiness. The holiness reflected comes from God and works through us by grace that invites us to do our best to follow God's healthy ways of living, repent when we inevitably make mistakes, and use the grace and lessons learned to try again. All of this works to reflect the holiness of God to the world. We and others need to see and be able to carry this reflected presence or holiness of God to make it through our difficult journeys. God can work through us so that our lives can be transformed to reflect the holiness of God! It's time to talk about holiness and live for God's holiness! It's time to allow God's holiness to transform us and our world.
Especially in this season of Lent I pray that God's grace will continue to work with me so that my life will reflect the Divine holiness that the world needs to see and embrace. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
Help save lives! For more information on my new book, "A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression," visit www.survivingteendepression.com.
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