You Are a Blessing!

February 18, 2007

The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor

Montgomery United Methodist Church


Luke 9:28-36

The Transfiguration

28Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah" -- not knowing what he said. 34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" 36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.



Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning. The title and the topic of our sermon today is a very simple one, and yet I believe it is extremely important for us to think about. For some of us, it might even be a little bit hard to accept. But I think it’s important that we talk about it today. The title and the topic of our message today is this: You Are a Blessing! You are!


Let me ask you, friend – do you think about that much? I bet you not. If we are at all alike, we tend to be drawn away by many other thoughts throughout the week. What do we think about as we go through our week? The things we have to do, the to-do list, the things that are upon us, the challenges. Maybe we even think that we’re not enough. We think we’re not good enough; we wish we were less this and more that.


But do you ever think about the fact that you are a blessing, and that you can be a blessing wherever you go? Let’s put the thoughts and concerns of the world, all the things that would distract us, aside for a little while. Here in church, here in the house of God, let us think about the idea that God created you to be a blessing. And in fact, you are a blessing. No matter what age or what station, no matter how able-bodied or how challenged, no matter whether you can rise up of your own accord or you’re in a hospital bed and you’re reading this sermon from that place, you are a blessing, and you can be a blessing, wherever you go.


There’s one little statement in this morning’s gospel that emphasizes that for me, and I’d like to lift it up for you today. First of all, let’s consider our gospel for the morning. It’s the story of the transfiguration. My goodness, it’s a dazzler, isn’t it? How can we wrap our arms around all the concepts in that gospel? We have Jesus inviting Peter and James and John to come up the mountain with Him to pray. They go up the mountain and these remarkable things happen! Jesus, as He is praying, is transformed visually. His clothing becomes radiant, like glistening snow. His face takes on a glow. There is the apparition of Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus and encouraging Him about the cross that He is going to. To top it off, the fog, that is the symbol of the presence of God, comes rolling over all of them, and the disciples are filled with fear. So many dazzling things are happening in the gospel!


In the midst of all this, in the midst of moments when the very voice of God is heard saying, “This is my Son, my chosen One. Listen to Him,” there is one simple statement uttered that absolutely fascinates me. The disciples, Peter, James, and John, say to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here.” My goodness, in the midst of everything that is going on, they say this beautiful, simple, little sentence: “Master, it is good that we are here.” And indeed it is. In their human frailty, like yours and mine, they think the reason that it’s good that they’re there is so that they can build tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.


But you know what? It is good that they are there, because Jesus needs them. I have a theory about that little sentence. My theory is that it wasn’t original with the outspoken Peter. I believe that Peter was saying something that he heard Jesus say earlier. I think Jesus had said to them, “You are my trusted ones. I can rely on you. You’re really solid. I want you to be with me in this special time. Friends, it is good that you are here.” I think Peter was repeating that statement.


And friends, it was good that they were there, because they were giving Jesus support. They were being His friends; they were being His family. They were being a blessing. That’s where you and I can enter the story.


Friend, you are a blessing. Being here and living with you, I’ve seen it again and again and again. You are being a blessing simply by being here this morning. You are being a blessing to me, a blessing to each other, a witness for the Lord to everyone else here in church and everyone else you meet today. Friend, you are a blessing. I invite you to think about that this week. In the midst of all the other things that are clamoring for the attention of your mind, won’t you think about that?


There are two ways to do it. Number one, let’s be especially aware of the folks that are a blessing to us, the folks that maybe just go the extra mile or the folks that demonstrate an especially loving attitude, an especially caring spirit. Let’s be especially aware of the folks that are a blessing to us in our world.


Just this week, I had difficulty with the telephone at the parsonage. It was crackling, the sound going in and out, having all sorts of problems. I called for repair, and they sent a gentleman to fix it. That fellow didn’t regard it as a simple job to be gotten over. This fellow felt it was his mission to fix this phone. He let me know that he really cared that I had phone service. He had to come back three times this week to fix it. One morning he called especially early and said, “I can be there in five minutes. Is that convenient?” I said yes. Well, his attitude, his caring that the phone got fixed made it something special. He was a blessing to me. It turns out that he was a person of faith, as well, and he wanted to talk about that a bit.


Who are the people who are blessings to you? Is it a waitress in the restaurant, someone especially kind and caring? Who is it for you? Maybe it’s someone right under your own roof who cares that life is good for you. Let’s be especially aware of that this week, because the gift of a blessing is an extraordinary gift. I watched folks from this church at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen serving soup to folks who are houseless in Trenton. I watched them dedicate their afternoon. We all went to the Trenton Soup Kitchen and we were putting food on the trays, giving the trays to folks, and watching them be blessed. Observe the folks who are a blessing in your world, won’t you? They’re all around.


I have observed folks caring for loved ones. I find it especially touching this morning in the passing of Edith Sechler. I want to recognize Lois in a special way in her ministry of love as she went to the nursing home and the hospital day after day to care for Mom. I want her to remember that she’s done an angel’s work in sharing that love and that caring.


I have stood with a family around the bedside of a good friend who was passing to the Lord, making his transition from this world to the next, and I witnessed their intense love and caring. They too were doing an angel’s work. Please don’t forget the blessing that you are. It’s important to remember. God blesses us to be a blessing. God blesses us to care about one another. It is your privilege and mine to be that kind of a blessing. So this week let’s observe especially the people who are blessing us and caring for us and for each other.


And second, won’t you take a moment to be still and remember that you are a blessing? Your very presence is sacramental. Someone wrote a book called Ninety-five Percent of Helping Is Just Showing Up. Your very presence can make a positive difference in the world. Your caring and your gentle attitude make all the difference. Please remember that you are a blessing, and that there are so many things that we can do that are not just task and are not just duty, but are done out of love, done because we want to, because we know we are a blessing and can make a positive difference in the world. Take it with you into the week, won’t you? Let the scripture be written on your heart: “Master, it is good that we are here.”


Master, it is good that I am here; let me be a blessing for you…because God loves you. I do, too. Have a wonderful week. Amen.


© 2007 Anthony J. Godlefski