This is an expanded version of what appears on the “Back Page” of the Fishkill UMC bulletin for 26 February 2017 (Transfiguration Sunday [A]).
One of the thing that I was thinking about was the song “I Saw the Light”. This is a country-gospel song that was written by Hank Williams (which I think most people didn’t know).
When I began teaching, I knew the subjects that I was teaching (chemistry and other physical sciences) and I was learning how to teach. But as this was all taking place, I found myself thinking about how my students learned chemistry.
We all learn in different ways and at different rates. And, as an instructor, I am tasked with helping each student reach that point of understanding; that point we call the “AHA! Moment”. It is that moment, and we all have had such moments in our own lives, when we understand what we are learning. This is a major moment in our lives because it takes us past simply “knowing” the right answer to understanding why it is the right answer.
I don’t think that it makes a difference whether we are speaking about secular or sectarian learning. And while I realize that this moment of understanding is different for each person, our educational process, both secular and sectarian, must be directed towards helping each person reach that moment of enlightenment.
And I realize that achieving this moment requires a great deal of effort, both by the teacher and by the student. How many times did we get the feeling that Jesus was frustrated by the lack of learning exhibited by the 12. They were his primary students and yet, time and time again, they didn’t seem to get the point of the lesson.
That is, until the First Easter and the Resurrection. Then they understood and when the Holy Spirit came to them on that First Pentecost, they became empowered to take the Gospel message into the world.
John Wesley knew what was needed but until that moment that we call Aldersgate, he didn’t quite understand how to achieve what he sought. The success of the Methodist Revival only began when the Holy Spirit warmed his heart and he understood who Christ truly was.
For Peter, James, and John, that moment was on the Mount with Jesus; for Paul, it was that moment on the road to Damascus.
Each of us has that same moment, that point when we understand that Christ is our Savior. Each person’s moment of understanding, of seeing the light is unique and we should never try to force our moment on others. But, we can and must help others find their moment.
Today marks the day that the Disciples began to see the light. Their lives began to change. Each of us has that moment; that moment when we realize that Jesus Christ is our personal Savior. And this gives us the opportunity to begin helping others find their moment.