How Christianity is Unique


Dan 7: 9-10, 13-14; 2 Pet 1: 16-19; Mark 9: 2-10

Deacon Larry Brockman

We Christians are so Blessed, because we are the ones who have been given revelations above and beyond all other religions! And they are all summed up so well for us today in the Transfiguration.

You see, all other people who believe in Gods see God as transcendent- high above us in every way. That’s the way Moslems and Jews and Buddhists all see God. That’s why the Jews forbid the use of the term Yahweh anymore; and out of respect, the Church has followed suit. And it’s why the Moslems react so strongly to anyone whom they consider blasphemes their God; and it is why the Buddhists monks separate themselves and purify themselves, because nothing impure can commune with Almighty God. There is a separation, a distance, a respect to be sure, but one that is more accurately characterized as fear, between them and their God.

But as Christians we have a different experience. We see Jesus Christ as both true God and true man- a Transcendent God like the one that was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, yes; and yet, the guy that Peter, James, and John ate and drank and lived with for three years- one of the boys whom they were intimate with; a friend, a confidant, someone who was immanent to them, as close to them as a brother or sister.  Jesus was someone they could relate to. He loved them as friends and confidants do; and he was there besides them as they lived their daily life.

These two extremes are highlighted in our readings today- the immanence and transcendence of God. First, Jesus travels up the mountain with them, struggling right along with them with the stress of the climb. But having arrived, the glory of almighty God is previewed with them through Jesus. And they are fearful- so fearful that they hardly know what to say.

There are many lessons to learn from this experience that the three Apostles had. First, we are all accompanied by Jesus Christ in our daily lives. He is walking right there alongside of us, just as he did with his Apostles, and particularly if we avail ourselves of the bread of life we’ve been talking about the last several Sundays; particularly if we receive Holy Communion often. And not only that, but he has left us his script- the Gospel, for living our daily lives. It is a script that emphasizes love and respect for all- a purity of heart; a script that emphasizes sacrificing self for others; and a script that emphasizes living God’s will, not our own- a purity of purpose-because that’s the way Jesus lived his own life.

This way of life is not popular in a world where self-sufficiency, independence, and self-gratification prevail; the life style of those who believe they are their own God. And it is not popular with people who live solely by the law because the law defines an objective standard in a world of subjective circumstances. The law ignores what is in the heart and emphasizes what is in the mind. But God looks for what is in our hearts, just as he looked at what was in Jesus’ heart.   And it is not popular with those who escape from the world for a life of denial and isolation. An immanent Christ, one who shows us how we can live God’s plan by example, by living it right in front of our eyes for us, is a God who is in the world, yet not consumed by it. And that is what we are all called to do as well, to live in the world and bear much fruit, just as Jesus Christ himself did.

Next, we are all called to the same glory that Jesus showed on the mountain that day. If we believe that Christ died for us to save us and was resurrected in the body to live forever in a glorified state prefigured in our reading today, then we believe that we are destined for the same glory.

Yes, we are fortunate as Christians to have had revealed to us that there is an awesome, almighty God who loves us, just as he loved His own son; a God who is both as far above us as possible and yet as immanent as Jesus in the Eucharist. We truly blessed.

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