"Ricky Bobby Sunday" by Pastor A.J. Houseman
Each year right before lent starts, we have Transfiguration Sunday. Jesus atop a mountain in the presence of his disciples has a conversation with dead prophets: Moses and Elijah, and God declares Jesus’ divinity and transforms him with dazzling white light right before all their eyes. It’s a big deal, it's why we talk about it every year.
However, this year, I’d like to shift your attention to the disciples.
You see the disciples are having a moment I like to call: The Ricky Bobby Moment.
So Will Ferrell in the movie Talladega Nights plays the character of Ricky Bobby, a famous NASCAR driver. He is getting interviewed and is so struck dumb in the moment, he keeps raising his arms and saying, “I don’t know what to do with my hands.”
Standing atop a mountain with Jesus, all of a sudden, these lights come all around him and he is transformed. The Greek word is actually Metamorpho, so if you are in to like PowerRangers or Transformers, that's pretty cool.
(Salem, you might remember a couple of years ago I preached about metamorpho. I talked about the hydrological cycle and the natural process of water purification. Same thing.)
THEN! Two prophets who have been dead for centuries, who are prominent figures in Judaism appear and just chatting it up with Jesus. Like these are famous guys.
Have you ever played the what if game? What if you could have dinner with any 3 famous people, who would they be?
So Jesus is just standing there casually talking to Adele and Ellen Degeneres, (my three people.) and the disciples are just standing there like “I don’t know what to do with my hands.” because of course, people freeze when they meet famous people right? And so Peter is like, “Hey, how about I build some tents for you guys?” because according to our scripture, he literally had no idea what to say.
I can almost hear Jesus being like, “Be Cool, Bro!” Keep it together!
Standing in the midst of such divinity, of course they want to build tents. I assume because they never want this moment to end. Because thats what we do when something is amazing, we want it to stay that way always.
Think of a moment that you never want to end. (take moment)
A moment that you want to cling to so badly, you would build tents to stay there forever. The wonder, the awe, overwhelming desire of the moment.
So here is the thing about all moments: they come to an end.
Jesus and the disciples couldn’t stay on that mountain top talking to ghosts forever.
Just like we cannot live in a single moment forever. It's just not how life works. Time can be an enemy or a friend to us all, but regardless, it keeps on moving.
See we all have moments like this in our lives of witnessing the miraculous moments of God’s divinity.
Maybe it's when a baby gets released from the NICU after several months. Maybe it's finding out your cancer is in remission. Maybe it's watching your child graduate from college. Maybe it's something that has happened in this very room.
But then what?
The moment we all dread, the moment that is inevitable, that incredible moment ends. And life goes back to normal.
This can be a tough moment for many people. A culture shock of re-entry into our own lives.
So what do we do with that? This moment that has changed us with the divinity of God’s grace? Share it.
That’s what the E is in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The sharing part. Share the good news. Share the awe inspiring moments of your life. Share the moments that take your breath away. Share the moments where you see the divine manifest right before your eyes.
So let's try that this morning.
Share your awe inspiring moment with a person sitting near you. Go head, I’ll wait.
This time we are about to enter, Lent… Lent is a time of reflection. A time to reflect on ourselves, our lives, and our faith journeys. I challenge this of you too: reflect on the moments of divinity in your lives, what moments are you grateful for? What are moments where you have seen the face of God? Moments where you felt like you wanted to build a tent and dwell in forever?
These moments are where the good news is. Where the grace of God can be seen.
So go. Share the good news. Thanks be to God.