Find Your Holy Life

Second Sunday of Lent

Gen 12: 1-4a; 2 Tim 1: 8b-10; Mt 17: 1-9

Dc. Larry Brockman

Guess what? You were called to a holy life! That’s what Paul’s message to us is today. Yes, every one of us is called to a holy life. But what exactly does that mean?

Well, Paul says something very profound about that today. He says that a holy life is not measured by our works; but rather by our willingness to embrace the mission we are called to by God’s design. What is more, he says that mission was bestowed on us even before time began! That’s how universal and sweeping God’s overall plan is. And he tells us we have been given the grace to accomplish that mission, whatever it is.

The church gives us two examples today of persons who embraced God’s call and followed their mission. The first is Abram, known as Abraham. Abraham left the land of his fathers at the ripe age of 75, leaving everything behind; and settling in the land of Canaan. At the age of 75! That’s a lifetime for most of us; a time 10 years beyond normal retirement age.

But Abraham was willing to begin all over again in a new land. Abraham listened to the voice of God in his heart; trusted in the providence of God; and did as he was prompted. He could have raised more sheep; more cattle, and had much more influence right where he was because his family was well off. He could have retired in relative luxury. But he was a man of faith and trust in the Lord. And so he left and embraced a future of unknown challenges- all because he listened to God and trusted.

The second example is Jesus. Jesus has already had his 40 day sojourn to the desert by the time of this morning’s story about the Transfiguration. He had prayed, he had reflected, he had been tempted, and he had prevailed over the devil. He knew that his Father wanted him to preach repentance of sins and the coming of the kingdom of God. Now he was ready for that mission that God had chosen for him from the beginning of time.

So he ascends the mountain with his closest associates- Peter James and John. There, he is transfigured, transformed into a state that reflects his future glorification. He converses with Moses and Elijah. Scripture scholars tell us Moses represents the Law; and Elijah represents the prophets. The Gospel of Luke tells us what they were talking about- “Jesus departure from Jerusalem”. That means they were talking about Jesus mission to go to Jerusalem; preach the truth in the name of God and announce the coming of the kingdom of God; urge all mankind to believe in him, repent, and follow him. Because he followed that mission, he was arrested, tried, suffered, crucified, buried, and then rose on the third day. All this would happen according to the law and the prophets, because Jesus fulfilled what the law had prescribed and what the prophets had predicted.  This is represented by the conversations with Moses and Elijah. And we know that Jesus departure from Jerusalem was accomplished through his death, resurrection and ascension. Jesus tells them in both Matthew and Mark’s account that they should tell no one of this event till he rises from the dead. And they were baffled by that reference.

Now the Transfiguration is important to all of us because it is validates who Jesus is, and provides a pattern for the Apostles, and ultimately all of us to follow. All three persons of the trinity were present at the Transfiguration. Jesus, of course, in his body; the Father in the voice; and the Holy Spirit in the cloud that overshadowed the Apostles. Just imagine how powerful this must have been to Peter, James, and John. They fell face down on the ground in terror; that’s how remarkable it was. But then, Jesus predicts everything that would happen to him three times after the Transfiguration.  At the time, this baffled the Apostles; as wee; they couldn’t believe it. But on Easter when everything had happened just as Jesus had predicted, these men were firm in their belief.  These were powerful, unforgettable, God incidents that gave them unshakeable faith and firm resolve to go out and spread the Gospel to all nations. That was their mission; that was how they lived a holy life.

And so, we come back to our mission. How do we live a holy life? We need to follow the pattern. First, we have to reflect on our lives and listen to the voice of the Lord. That’s what the 40 days of Lent are all about. As we do that, we need to remember works are not as important as that urge inside of you on what God’s design is for you.

Some seem to be called to the glorious things of life- they are physically or mentally gifted, they are talented in art or music or sports, they are leaders; they are intelligent. But talents don’t always correspond to God’s call. Talents are gifts we use to fulfill God’s call. And it’s not about our agenda it’s about God’s agenda. His goals and the accomplishments needed to achieve them may differ from our personal goals and objectives. God is looking for a team effort, and just like any team effort, the team goal is what is most important, not the individual achievements. The team goal is conversion and salvation for all.

Others have talents which are less glorious in the eyes of the world but may be more in line with God’s objectives. Like people who are caregivers; people who humbly serve other’s needs, and people who support and enable but don’t lead. These efforts all contribute to the team goal of universal salvation when they are done in love.

We still have 4 weeks to go till Easter. Use Lent wisely, and find your holy life.

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