The Rev. Jay Lawlor preaches on the Transfiguration of Jesus, Aug. 6, 2017

Image of The Rev. Jay Lawlor preaching Transfiguration Sunday at Holy Family Episcopal Church, Fishers, IN

The Rev. Jay Lawlor preaching Transfiguration Sunday at Holy Family Episcopal Church, Fishers, IN

The Rev. Jay Lawlor preached on the Transfiguration of Jesus in a homily at Holy Family Episcopal Church, Fishers, IN, on Aug. 6, 2017.

So proclaim all the new things that God is doing through you as disciples of Jesus. Proclaim all that God is visioning for your future as disciples of Jesus. It is Good News.”
— The Rev. Jay Lawlor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US, February 12, 2018 / -- "So proclaim all the new things that God is doing through you as disciples of Jesus. Proclaim all that God is visioning for your future as disciples of Jesus. It is Good News," preached the Rev. Jay Lawlor in his sermon for Transfiguration Sunday (August 6, 2017) at Holy Family Episcopal Church in Fishers, Indiana. A video recording of the Rev. Lawlor's sermon has been posted by Holy Family Productions and on the Rev. Jay Lawlor's website. Following are excerpts from the sermon transcript:

It is the Feast of the Transfiguration or our Lord. Which, this year, falls on a Sunday. If it seems like we have heard this story recently, it is because we have. At least Matthew's version – which was read the end of February. As is tradition to include the Transfiguration narrative the Sunday before Lent.
While the story is recurring again in a short period of time, hopefully we can discover some new insights. Before we turn our attention to this morning's passage from Luke, I'd like to establish a bit of context. Just before this passage, the Apostle Peter confesses Jesus as “the Messiah of God.” This is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Jesus turns out to be a different kind of Messiah than what most were expecting. Rather than a military revolutionary who would lead them to overthrow Rome, Jesus announces that he will suffer and die.

This led to many questions about Jesus – even questions about his relationship to God, and if he could possibly be the Messiah they had long awaited. The Transfiguration is a reassurance – a confirmation – for three of Jesus' core disciples that God was indeed doing a new thing through Jesus. Perhaps it was not what they expected in the beginning, but God was transforming their lives through Jesus. And not only the disciples, but those whom they would share the Good News of God in Jesus the Christ. The Jesus Movement may not have been what they thought they were signing up for, but the liberating, life-giving, loving ministry of Jesus was transforming lives in ways they could not have possibly imagined.
The Transfiguration allowed Peter, James, and John a glimpse of the glory of Jesus they would experience following his death and Resurrection. These three prominent leaders of Jesus' movement are given a sign of reassurance that they have not wasted their time in following this man from Galilee. Peter, who would establish the Church in Antioch and Rome. John, the Son of Zebedee, and John's brother James.
Despite being exhausted, the three stay awake with Jesus on the mountain. As Jesus prays his face changes – we can only imagine it glows with a radiance similar to Moses' on Mount Sinai, and Jesus' clothes turn a dazzling white. And this isn't a Clorox bleached white – it something beyond description. Truly something you probably had to be there and see firsthand to truly appreciate.

So Peter, James, and John witness the glory of God in Jesus – as Peter would later describe in his Second Letter of Peter: For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1:15)
And it is Peter's reaction to Jesus' Transfiguration which is very human. Peter experiences something wonderful, amazing, and powerful. A spiritual experience like none other he had ever encountered. It is so wonderful that Peter wants to enshrine it – to make a lasting memory of that moment. As human beings we want to hold on to what we love and experiences that we treasure as being especially moving – moments which touch us deeply. We don't want to let go. Those times where we say “I wish this moment could last forever.” How often do we do this in our own lives? In our friendships? In our families? In our church?
Think of Peter, James, and John. A longtime friend and two brothers. At the beginning of the Gospel they are simple fisherman going about the task of mending their nets. Then they are called by Jesus to be his disciples. Near the end of Jesus' earthly ministry they find themselves on a mountain and experience Jesus' Transfiguration – a moment of awe and wonder. A moment they want to hold on to. Peter said it, but James and John probably thought the same. How could they not? It was the perfectly natural human reaction to what they had experienced together.

And, yet, the Transfiguration – that moment of transformation – was not offered for enshrinement. It was not offered to only be a lasting memory. It was a reminder of the new thing God was doing in and through Jesus. For Jesus' followers, it connected their past – to their ancestors, Moses and Elijah – and gave them a glimpse of the future in which God was doing a new thing. Through Jesus. And through them, also.
And, my friends, transfigurations – transformations – happen all the time. Both big and small. Changes in our lives, or the life of a community, where we become different in some way. Where God is doing something new and giving us a glimpse of what God is preparing for us as followers of Jesus.

The entire sermon can be viewed at

Visit Sermons Video Series page for all six of the sermons the Rev. Jay Lawlor preached at Holy Family.

The Rev. Jay Lawlor
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The Rev. Jay Lawlor preaching on the Transfiguration of Jesus, Aug. 6, 2017

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