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Worship Service Message

February 11, 2024
Transfiguration Sunday

Faith not only in God, but also in Fellow Human Beings and in Ourselves

Hebrews 11:1; Mark 9:2-10

Rev. Dr. Jaegil Lee

Can you believe that we are entering the season of Lent this Wednesday? We will hold our Ash Wednesday Service at Portsmouth Methodist Church at 7 PM.  


Additionally, we will have our Weekly Lenten Gathering every Thursday night from 6:15 PM to 7:45 PM. This year, we will continue to read Cayce’s A Search for God together.


There are three reasons why I believe it is the best option for us to continue reading Cayce’s book. First, I cannot think of any other book better suited for our faith community at this stage of our growth. Second, I don’t think it is a good idea to pause the group during Lent and resume after Easter. Third, I believe that Cayce’s book is one of the best books ever written in human history. I have two books that I will give to my children when they become adults. One of them is Cayce’s book we are reading. I will let you know the other one when we have completed Cayce’s book. Regarding the other book, I have read it for 7 or 8 times and am reading it again. I will read it until I die.


If you hesitate to join the group because others have already read a few chapters, don’t worry about that. Each chapter has a completely different lesson, and you can understand what you read without understanding the previous chapters.


Please let me know if you, who have not attended the Thursday Group, wants to join it. If there are more than 15 people who will attend it in person, then we need to meet in Barber Hall. You can also join it on Zoom.


Today’s Gospel lesson is about Jesus’ transfiguration. However, I would like us to consider his transfiguration in the context of the theme of faith. This sermon idea germinated from my reflections on Cayce’s writing that I have been reading for our weekly group gathering. My message will be simple just like all life-change truths are simple.


Jesus was a human being just like you and me. However, he became Christ and the Divine Helper through his complete faith in and dependence on God’s will and plan. Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and to the cross is a journey of his unwavering faith in God, humanity and himself. Every aspect of Jesus’ life seems to have been led by his faith.


In contrast, our daily lives are driven by things we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste. Most of our attention and energy are drawn towards the seen. What we think of all day is also mostly what the five senses can perceive.


However, faith is concerned with what we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1, which Anne read for us, says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It is faith that allows us to have trust in the unseen. With faith, we have the inner spiritual knowledge of God, humanity, and ourselves, which the five senses cannot provide. For “faith is a bridge that spans the gulf from the seen to the unseen.” (Cayce, 45)


One of the most, if not the most, fundamental truths of the unseen is “Each human being is God’s child.”  More accurately, “Every single human being is the beloved child of God.” Now it may sound too mundane to you because you have heard it too many times. However, unless we truly embody this invisible truth in every aspect of our lives, we don’t understand its transforming power. 


This point is made clear in the Gospel of Mark as Jesus hears Divine voices identifying him as the “beloved child of God” not only once, but twice—one in his baptism and the other in today’s story. These two were significant moments in Jesus’ life.


In today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus hears who he is in the most truthful sense—“God’s beloved child.” This story is located in a unique place in the entire Mark’s story. It is important to recognize that it follows Jesus’ first foretelling of his death and resurrection. And soon after today’s episode, Jesus travels toward Jerusalem to face his final destiny.


God’s first voice, “You are my beloved child,” speaks to Jesus at his baptism, the beginning of public ministry, while today’s divine voice was proclaimed at the turning point of his journey from public ministry to embracing death on the cross. From my understanding, these two voices proclaimed in the two most significant moments in Jesus’ life imply that Jesus’ entire life was rooted in knowing and embodying this invisible fundamental truth of his being God’s beloved child. 


Just as for Jesus, so for us, it is crucial to realize that we are God’s beloved children. Why is then it so important? Because this simple truth reveals the almost entire truth of the unseen.


One’s realization of oneself as God’s beloved child is not merely concerned about that person’s identity, but also about the entire humanity and God. In realizing oneself as God’s beloved child, one also realizes that every single human being is God’s beloved child and God is the Mother-Father to every single human being. Therefore, when we truly recognize our divine identity, we come to understand God, our fellow human beings, and ourselves in a fuller sense.


For this reason, I can say that Jesus had faith not only in God, but also in his fellow human beings and himself. Further, I can say that Jesus’ every act sprang from his conviction of the unseen truth that each and every single human being, including himself, is God’s beloved child. Furthermore, I can even say that Jesus’ every act intended to reveal the truth that we are God’s beloved children and, at the same time, to destroy the lies and falsities about who we are.


The reason that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection has the ultimate power unmatchable to anything is that his every act showed to the world that he is God’s beloved Child as well as his fellow human beings are the same.


Like Jesus, we must have faith in God, in our fellow human beings, and in ourselves. If we doubt ourselves or our fellow human beings, we doubt the God within us and within our neighbors. As the Spirit spoke through Cayce, “All our development, physical, mental, and spiritual, depends upon our faith in God, in our fellow human beings, and in ourselves” (Cayce, 44).


Therefore, like Jesus, we must let our faith become a living faith, the faith that reveals the world that we are children of God. Through exercising our faith this way, we will awaken others towards their true nature as God’s beloved children and God will be glorified by their seeing divine light within us.

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