Moses encountered God on the mountain. When he came down the people, his people were afraid because he didn’t look the same. His skin had a glow.
Peter, James, and John encountered God on the mountain. They had trekked up the mountain with Jesus and were so worn out they fell asleep. Something woke them up and what they saw was beyond their imaginations. They saw Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah. Jesus didn’t look the same either. His whole being radiated with brightness they had never seen before. Peter didn’t want to leave. He wanted to preserve this moment forever.
Many folks want to encounter God but they are never quite prepared for what they find. When people come face to face with God they are changed and it’s never exactly like they expected it to be.
Moses and the disciples were witnesses to the power of God on a mountain. And so many of us think that our experiences should all be mountain top experiences. But they’re not.
The truth is we encounter God everyday, many times without being aware of God’s presence. But every time we are changed. It may not be an external transformation but nevertheless we are changed when we come face to face with our Creator. When it happens we are amazed. We shouldn’t be because God made us and he is certainly capable of changing us if we are ready to accept him.
Most times I believe that we meet God in very ordinary places and in very ordinary situations. When we think about it God is present with us whenever we come together to worship. In fact Jesus said that that happens whenever two or three are gathered in his name, God is there. And wherever God is present the environment is changed.
Today, in this church, we will receive new members and two young people will be baptized. Change will take place and this worship space will be transformed. It always happens when God is present.
As Paul said whenever God is present, whenever we come face to face with God, “…we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”
Friends, it’s a fact. God changes us. If we will allow him inside, if we accept the forgiveness he offers to us, then we will be changed. We will become different people. Maybe not on the outside but our inner being is transformed and we are new again.
I can’t explain how this takes place. All I can tell you is that it does. People are changed everyday when they let Jesus come in. And they don’t even have to go up a mountain. It happens when we come to the realization that our God is alive, Jesus is alive, the Holy Spirit is alive. Our God is a living, personal presence who wants us to experience the joy and happiness that’s available to us when we journey with him, when we invite him to walk and talk with us everyday.
God’s glory is all around us. He is in every person we meet, he is in every atom in every living thing in creation. God’s glory is everywhere and all we have to do is take the time to be with him and then he will be with us, everywhere, everyday.
Friends, God is here in this church. He is in this community. He is in those who are sitting beside you today. Look at your neighbor and you will see his glory.
You don’t have to climb a mountain to find God. You don’t have to come inside a church to find God. God will find you wherever you are.
We can’t earn our way to him. We can’t buy our transformation. It all is a free gift from God. It is grace. We all should pray that God will gift us with his grace. Amen.
Thanks be to God for his glorious, gracious presence. Amen.