Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sunday's Sermon-ish

Here is the basis of what was preached this weekend. 
The stories took on a different form at each service.  Thanks to people who were in worship who were willing to be examples of God in our midst here and now. 

February 15, 2015

Transfiguration B
1 Kings 2:1-12
Psalm 50:1-6
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Mark 9:2-9
Please pray with me,
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O God, our rock and our redeemer.  Amen. 
This morning we find ourselves on a mountain top and not just the mountain that overlooks Robesonia, but a mountaintop with Jesus, Peter, James and John. 
I don’t know about you, but because of my camp experience and travel experiences I’ve seen many mountains.  My native area of New England is home to many hills and mountains.  My summers at camp were up in New Hampshire, in an area called the White Mountain region…we went hiking often. 
Yet all those ranges throughout New England cannot even compare to the mountains I have seen in Alaska.  Wow…that’s all I can say.  They say everything is bigger in Alaska…and there is some truth to that.  The city of Anchorage is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range.  It’s a wonder to see the buildings of the city against the backdrop of the majestic mountains. 
While up in Alaska several summers ago, I had the opportunity to hike Mount Marathon.  Many people run up this mountain each year as part of a’s a tricky course, not well groomed or marked, but people run it for a medal and bragging rights that they have run up and down a mountain.  Well, a few of us thought we would try it out. 
At the base of the mountain, the following notices were posted:

But we went for it, anyway!  Needless to say, we gave it our best shot to get up that mountain.  It was pretty treacherous and tricky…there was lots of slipping and sliding, but once we made it to the top….wow. 

Seriously, the view from the top was amazing…the view was spectacular.  We saw the whole town of Seward and were surrounded by even higher snow capped mountains. 

What a sight to see.  We didn’t want to leave…

Part of the reason we wanted to stay was because we knew the trip down would probably more difficult than the way up.  Part of that was because we didn’t want to leave the beautiful view. 
Who am I kidding?  We were worried about going back down. 
But we couldn’t stay on the top.  While the top of the mountain is a wonderful place to be, it’s not where we are meant to stay. 
While Peter, James and John are up on the mountain, they too see a marvelous sight.  Jesus is transfigured in front of them.  His appearance becomes one of dazzling white.  He is in the presence of Elijah and Moses. 
Upon seeing this sight, Peter is not sure what to do about it. 
He’s in shock…but he knows this is an amazing thing, so he wishes to capture the moment. 
In his confusion and fear, Peter wants somehow to preserve this moment.  As challenging as it is to understand, he wishes to hold onto this moment and never let it go.  He prefers not to leave the mountaintop.  He wishes to treasure this moment. 
I wonder what Peter’s selfie would look like from that mountaintop experience? 
How often do we find ourselves in this situation...where what is happening to us at a certain moment is so wonderful that we wish to preserve it.  We wish that it will not end.  In a way, we wish to keep it to ourselves. 
I was at a concert last year.  It was They Might be Giants.  Billy and I went with John and Tara Clauss.  As the show began, they said, we see some of you recording this show.  We don't mind you recording it...but think of the person behind you and all they can see is your hand holding the smart phone.  Don't be that jerk.  (But they didn't use the word jerk.) But they said...don't be that person...because for one, you block the view of the person behind you.  And two, you pretty much miss the whole experience because you are worried about the quality of the recording.  And I'll add three, when you go to watch the video you will only be able to see what is within the confines of the screen.  You'll miss the 'whole' experience. 
One of the highlights of our honeymoon in New Orleans was the evening we spent at Preservation Hall.  It's the home to a deep history of jazz musicians and concerts.  We waited in line for nearly an hour for a 45 minute show.  As we entered the hall, we got to sit on the last two cushions on the floor right in front of the band.  (The trombone slide nearly hit us during the show.) 
Before the band came in, we were welcomed to this little piece of jazz history.  We were asked to put away our phones and recording devices and were invited to be immersed in the music and experience for the next 45 minutes.  Everybody did.  It's 45 minutes of amazing music, laughter, and applause that isn't repeatable. 
Thankfully we captured the moment in our hearts. 
How many of you wish you could capture a moment like that?  That you were so blown away by the experience that you felt like Peter and wanted to build a tent and dwell there and never leave? 
I pray that that happens in this place week after week. 
That we see Jesus transfigured before us through the bread and the wine of communion and through the words of confession and forgiveness. 
It also happened last week in this space. As Neil and Julieann P. were serving as ushers during communion, SarahAnne was not pleased.  Nicole D. tried her best to soothe the tears, but SarahAnne would not be calmed.  And then, from across the sanctuary, Amy S. walked over and scooped up SarahAnne and just held her in the side of the sanctuary and she was at peace.  It happened....just the midst of communion...Jesus being transfigured as the Body of Christ came together to love and support one another. 
It also happened at Ozgoods on Thursday.  As Pastor Bill, Vicar Tommy and I were out to lunch we saw Alyssa and her kids enjoying lunch. 
Well, they popped out of the booth to wave and smile at us as we ate and when we left, we stopped in to say goodbye.  As we went to leave, Sammie asked mom to get something to give to Pastor was the valentine she had made at story time at the library that morning.  I asked if I could give her a hug and she said yes! 
Not to be outdone, Josie stood up and said I want to give Pastor Bill a kiss! 
(Now, what you need to know is that we were saying goodbye as they were eating dessert.  Ice cream sundaes, no less.) 
Pastor Bill got a bit of chocolate syrup, ice cream and whipped cream with his kiss.  I got a little too.  And just then in those moments, God broke into Ozgoods...into the bodies of two 4 year olds sharing valentines and hugs and kisses.
Can you see it happening?  Where are you seeing Jesus transfigured in your midst?  How are you capturing that moment?  And how are you sharing it with others? 
We are called to see and experience God in this world.  
Gracious God give us the eyes to see, the bodies to feel and the voices to share this amazing news with everyone we meet. 

And now my the peace which passes all understanding keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all god's people say, amen. 

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