Yearning for Transformation
April 29, 2001
This is the glorious season of Easter. The tomb has been shown
to be a sham. What power and glory as been loosed into our lives!
During Lent we looked at six different crosses. Here they are.
Each one had a meaning and significance. Each one can be an emblem
of how the world is in trouble. Each one can signify our own
The transformational power and glory of Easter says to each of
these locations for trouble -- begone! The cross is shown to
be of no consequence.
In today's world there are still plenty of troubles. There is
still a cross to daily bear. But we can now see beyond the current
troubles. We can now see beyond the daily cross. We can now see
all the way to troubles and crosses being transformed into new
In the book of the Acts of the Early Church we hear about Paul
being suddenly and dramatically struck down. The one who was
the persecutor of the followers of Jesus is transformed into
the key missionary for this very same Jesus. We all stand in
need of this sort of radical transformation. Day by day we confess
our sins. Day by day we look for the transformation which comes
from forgiveness. From the cross we hear Jesus say in anticipation
of resurrection, "Forgive them, they don't know what they
are doing." This is a radical transformation.
In the Gospel of John we hear about Peter slowly coming to understand
the power and glory of Easter through a repeated conversation
with Jesus raised to new life. We can listen in on a gradual
transformation. "Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you
love me?" "You know I do. You know I do. You know I
do. Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep.
How repetitious this is. Some have talked about it being a necessary
parallel to Peter's three denials, as though everything has to
be rounded off and accounted for. I think it reminds us of how
we all need to work through a series of tries in changing an
ingrained habit of ours. Peter is being called again from the
sea. First it was, "I will make you catch people and make
disciples." Now it is, "Feed my sheep."
How like Jesus to pound away at us. Love me; feed my sheep. Love
GOD; feed my sheep. Love your neighbor; feed my sheep. Love one
another; feed my sheep. Love your enemy; feed my sheep. Love
yourself; feed my sheep.
We all stand in need of this gradual transformation. Day by day
we are called to do better. We are to get better and better at
not hurting others. We are to get better and better at doing
more and more good. We are to get better and better at paying
attention to the presence of GOD in our life and in the life
of the world.
So we come back here week after week in order to grow a little
bit closer to Jesus and to figure out how to feed Jesus' sheep.
Whether in a blinding flash, like Paul, or with increasing, dawning
recognition, like Peter, we yearn for transformation.
This world is not the world it needs to become. Don't let anyone
fool you. This world is not the world it needs to become. Don't
let anyone tell it is as good as it is going to get. This world
is not the world it needs to become. Don't let anyone trick you
into thinking that life all comes down to one thing and if you
just take care of that all will be alright. This world is not
the world it needs to become.
We baptized Alex this morning. At some point he is going to need
to be transformed. We don't know whether that will be a sudden
transformation or a slower one over years.
I am sure you yearn, with me, for a better life for Alex than
we lived out. There are going to be some crosses in Alex's life
as well as an Easter experience. Let us pray again for Alex and
Julie and Sandi and Dean. Let us pray that they will find the
necessary transformation to be change-agents in the world.
Even as we pray for Alex we also pray for St. Luke's as a congregation.
There is a need for a transformation here. We don't know whether
GOD is going to treat us like Paul and give us a blinding vision
that will consume our lives in becoming missionaries right here
on the Northside of La Crosse. We don't know whether GOD is going
to treat us like Peter and day-by-day lead us to understand what
it means to feed Jesus' sheep. What does that metaphor or symbol
of "sheep" mean anyway?
But, whether like Paul or like Peter, we yearn for a transformation
that we will know our work and be about that business with energy
We yearn for a transformation that will not only lift our hearts
but the hearts of those around us in this neighborhood.
We yearn for a transformation that will not only give us focus
and joy, but we yearn for a transformation that will make a difference
in the the lives of others in our families and neighborhood.
So we pray for transformation from feeling the weight of a cross
to experiencing the light of Easter.
How's your morale today? How's the morale of your family and
friends? How's the morale of St. Luke's? How's the morale of
Perhaps the morale of one or more of those groups is doing reasonably
well, but I suspect there is room for improvement in one or more
of those groups. It is here that we yearn for transformation.
Let us wait upon GOD and see how our transformation will occur.
Let us urge one another on to greater hope and faith and love.
Let us pray: Loving GOD who raised Jesus from the grave. We place
before you our own lives. Transform us. Amen.
Copyright 2001. Wesley
White, Pastor of St. Luke's United Methodist Church. 1022
Caledonia Street, La Crosse, WI 54603.
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