This Sunday we read remarkable passages about encounters with the divine from Matthew 17:1-9 and Exodus 24:12-18. In the Gospel Jesus is transformed into shining light in the Presence of the love of God as the disciples tremble in fear. In Exodus Moses is transformed as he hikes up the mountain of God where glory shines like a devouring fire. What are these passages talking about? Are they telling us that Jesus is divine and Moses is a big deal so be impressed and shake in your boots? Why are these stories in the Bible? Our Psalm, Psalm 2, which speaks of the problems of human pride and arrogance and our need for divine help points us in a helpful direction. It’s not just that Jesus and Moses were transformed and transfigured on mountains long ago, our lives are to be transformed and transfigured today! That is the point of these passages. But then the question comes, how are we transformed? What does that mean? That’s where I’m headed with my sermon: “Shining a Light.”
This will be a conversational sermon where I will invite your thoughts and responses. I’ll kick things off by describing how I experience this invitation into divinity; that we are the beloved of God and have a capacity for the remarkable. When we embrace our divinity we are set free to love, serve, and be instruments of transformation in the world. At this particular moment when the powers that be are focused on building walls and doing harm to many, we need deeper resources for responding faithfully and being light. What do you think of that idea? Do you feel divine? Does that sound arrogant, foolish, or, perhaps, the deep wisdom God keeps trying to whisper into our ears? Come join us for a conversation of transformation on this Transfiguration Sunday.
We will also sing wonderful hymns and have uplifting music from the Choir and Tom. I will forego the Children’s Sermon to give us extra time for our conversation. But Bev Krol with her guitar and Ann with her lessons will guide the children in joy and faith. This will be our final Sunday in the parlor. Following worship there will be a brief demonstration of our handbells as Tom Damrosch extends an invitation to come and learn more about this wondrous way of making sacred music.
At 11:30 I will lead the opening session of our new class exploring spiritual life. We are making use of Henry Nouwen’s classic, “Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life”. We’ll be discussing what he means by the movement from ‘loneliness to solitude’. You don’t need to have read the book, but be ready to share—or at least write down—thoughts on where you experience loneliness, isolation, helplessness and where you experience solitude, centeredness, depth. We all experience such moments. How do we bring them to deeper awareness in the light of God’s love? And what happens when we do? Come find out. Also, child care will be provided for the hour-long class. Joel