Sermon - August 6, 2023 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon – August 6, 2023

The Transfiguration Sunday
Year A

First Reading: Exodus 34:29-35
Psalm 99 or 99:5-9
Second Reading:2 Peter 1:13-21
Gospel: Luke: 9:28-36


O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen


Imagine Jesus on a normal day walking with three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John.

Jesus appears to them to be normal, when he asked them to come with him…. But on this day, he leads them high on a mountain, by themselves…Right before their eyes, He was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.  

This no ordinary morning, no ordinary walk…the light was so bright, it was almost blinding. We all at one point in our lives, have looked at a light so bright, that we had to look away or close our eyes, it was so bright.

Suddenly they see Elijah and Moses talking to Jesus…they were so terrified by this, that Peter, not really knowing what else to say…says, “Rabbi, maybe we shouldn’t be here, you want us to go and prepare three dwelling places, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”? what else could he say?? Maybe it is his way to honor them, by putting up areas of worship for them.

Then a great cloud overshadowed them…and a voice came from the cloud. 

“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

Let us go back…They climb this mountain and are separated from the other disciples, then Jesus is transformed before them in a bright light, and two of God’s greatest, are there talking to Jesus.

Next comes the shadow of heavy clouds and a Thundering voice out of the clouds….” This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” After this dramatic moment, Jesus was found alone and 

James, Peter, and John left and went back down the mountain and kept silent and did not tell anyone what they had witnessed.

I am pretty sure they agreed to this, who would believe them and how would they explain it…after all Jesus is still there and they do not really know what is going on!  One thing they did know was this was no ordinary walk, it was not an ordinary day but a cloud came over them and over shadowed them; they were scared…terrified!


Peter, James, and John have experienced the past, the present and the future all in an instance.  

The Ascension of Jesus, does not mean he is gone somewhere up there! Jesus, like God is in all things and in all places.

Yes, the Ascension of Jesus Christ to be at the right hand of God, and He rose to the elevation and the position of all authority in heaven and on earth, to share that authority with God.

I wonder how we would find that experience? That Peter, James and John had?

It is possible, that some of us have had different experiences in life, maybe not as clear and involved as the three disciples, but we… all have had our own time on the mountain of life or in the desert in life. 

We all have connected to God in different ways, through experiences of our own through our faith.

Good news

The Transfiguration is about change. This is a reminder that calls us to change into people who live with a sense of security. 

When we face challenges, we become afraid of the change. We have become people use to things to being a certain way, developing a sense of security. 

So, when we face a challenge or a change in our lives, we look to Jesus who says “Do not be afraid.” You can except these changes, “I will be with you.” And we will have times in our lives, when our faith is being tested and challenged, and Jesus will always be there to help us transform ourselves, climb that mountain, we cannot just have one experience and then say, okay, I made it, and I can stop there, we must come down the mountain with him and turn around and go back up. 

There is plenty more of growing to do and we must be ready for that invitation from Jesus to go, to walk in faith and asked to be transformed.

The Reverend Lola Culbreath