First Presbyterian Church

of Hemet
Let Jesus Shine 
Luke 9: 28-36 2 Corinthians 3:12- 4.2 
February 7, 2016 
Pastor Sylvia Karcher 
 
Peter, James, and John were tired. The climb up the mountain had been difficult. Resting at the top in the warm sun, they got very sleepy, so sleepy that they almost dozed off and missed the amazing event that happened right before them. Perhaps the blinding white of Jesus clothes and the brightness of his face brought them fully awake in time to see Moses and Elijah and to hear God’s voice—God’s voice, declaring that Jesus was greater than either Moses or Elijah. Jesus was God’s son.  
 
Yes, the disciples woke up literally but I think they were given a chance to wake up spiritually, as well. You remember those words from Isaiah, “Arise, shine, for your light has come”? We love the song our choir sings about that. “Wake up church, wake up,” They sing, and “Arise, shine, tell the world your light has come.” The disciples were given a glimpse, a foretaste, of the risen Christ. In that light they could have gotten up and begun to reflect that light themselves.  
 
In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul is making the same point, but as we see, he says something even more awesome. He begins by reminding us that when Moses came down from the mountain his face shone because he’d been in God’s presence. And his is face was so dazzling that he had to wear a veil so people could look at him. But Paul says that eventually the light on Moses’ face faded.  
 
But the light of Christ is different—it is the light of the glory of God and it will never fade. Not only that, but his face doesn’t have a veil and, amazingly, we are able to gaze on him—no veil needed.  
 
Have you looked at the full moon recently? I see it as a metaphor for what Paul is trying to tell us. When the moon is full it is beautiful. Of course, it’s beautiful, not because it is shining with its own light; it’s beautiful because it’s reflecting the light of the sun. But if the earth comes between the moon and the sun, what happens? The moon inevitably loses its brightness. It becomes dull. This is what happens in our lives when we allow things to come between us and Christ.  
 
But Paul says even more. Listen to what he says, “And all of us, with unveiled faces seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror are being transformed from one degree of glory to another.” Isn’t that amazing? 
 
At least three insights call out to be noticed here. 
 
First we don’t just reflect the glory. Unlike the moon, which remains the same cold rock, we are actually transformed, changed. We become, as Paul says in another place, new creations. 
 
 
 
Second, we aren’t changed by our own efforts; we’re being changed because we see the glory of the Lord. Just as surely as by hearing his voice or feeling his touch people were healed or brought to life, by seeing and knowing Christ we are changed. C.S. Lewis expresses it this way: “Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.” 
 
Third, this is a process, a writer named Robert Prim said,  
“…no one falls into the pool of God’s transforming love and emerges fully formed as a perfect reflection of Christ. The work of God’s justifying a redemptive spirit moves in human lives from one degree of glory to another.( Robert Warden Prim, Feasting on the Word, Year C Vol. 1. P. 451.”) 
 
Life will throw problems and roadblocks in our way, and we won’t seem to make progress, but we will. John Wesley asks in the hymn “Love Divine all Loves Excelling,” “Fix in us your humble dwelling”, come live in us. And he goes on to say, we will be “changed from glory into glory.” It’s better, actually, if we don’t notice this process. We aren’t to be focused on ourselves; we’re to be focused on him.  
 
So, are we just to spend our lives in meditation? No—no more than Peter could build those shelters on the mountain or I could stay and sleep in the sanctuary. In the words of Robert Prim again, “The work of the Christian believer is to allow the love of Christ and the freedom of the Spirit to be manifest in daily living.” (Prim, 451). In other words, to let Jesus shine in our lives.  
 
Years ago I heard a song about letting our light shine. I want you to share the words of it now. As you listen, please notice that near the end the singer mentions us as family, shining our lights all together. 
 
There is a candle in every soul  
Some burning brightly, some dark and cold. 
There is a spirit who brings a fire 
Ignites a candle and makes his home. 
 
Frustrated brother, see how he tried to 
Light his own candle some other way;  
And see how your sister she’s been robbed and lied to 
Still holds a candle without a flame. 
 
We are a family whose hearts are blazing,  
So let’s raise our candles and light the sky 
Praying to our father in the name of Jesus 
Make us a beacon in darkest times. 
 
Carry your candle, run to the darkness 
Seek out the helpless, confused and torn 
And hold out your candle for all to see it 
Take you candle and go light your world. 
Take your candle and go light your world. 
One final thing remember: Jesus doesn’t say we should be light. He says, we ARE light. But without him our light flickers and dims.  
 
That’s why we come to this table. This table is the place where Christ purifies and renews us, where he feeds us and strengthens our fire. Come to the table, be renewed, and nourished and fed.