Sunday, August 30, 2015

God's arms open in welcome

"Welcome, regardless." This sign in front of Messiah Episcopal Church, Murphy, NC, expresses God's nature. God's arms are open in love to every person. Regardless.

At Holy Communion today, Penny and I listened as the Messiah choir sang "The Welcome Table," an old African-American spiritual.

And we felt God's welcome of us: in the music; in the liturgy; in the moving sermon by the Lutheran pastor who serves this small congregation; and in our Holy Communion with God and these kind people.

The service over, the pastor then dismissed us for our service to God. His words were: "Go forth and be kind."

How might we be transformed by showing God's kindness to our very own selves?

How might wounded people, including those who have wounded us, be transformed when we show them kindness?

How might the world be transformed by our simple, steady acts of kindness?

May you know God's goodness, His everlasting kindness, and share it with everyone you meet.

And watch what happens.

Deep healing and peace be with you in Christ.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Transfiguration of light, word, love

Today, August 6, is the Feast of the Transfiguration.

I just read the story of this sacred event in Mark 9.2-8 (It is also recorded in Matthew 17.1-8 and Luke 9.28-36).

At the Thursday Holy Eucharist, which will begin at 5.30 pm, just a few minutes from now, I will reflect on the significance of this event.

In the gospel accounts of the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John accompany Jesus to a mountain, where a revelation occurs. Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus, talking with him. (Wouldn't it be interesting to listen in on that conversation?).

And then a huge cloud settles down upon them, and from the cloud, God speaks, "This is my beloved son;  listen to him." And then there is silence. Moses and Elijah disappear. Jesus is alone. The apostles now see only Him.

God reveals Himself in and through Jesus, who is the only one who remains of the three great figures who appear to the apostles on the mount that day. I wonder: might the meaning of this event be that Jesus fulfills, surpasses; indeed, supersedes the Law, as represented by Moses, and the Prophets, as represented by Elijah?

Might the meaning of the Transfiguration be that God's former revelation of Himself to Israel in the Law and the Prophets is now embodied in Jesus and, indeed, exceeded by Him, for Jesus alone is God in human flesh; Moses and Elijah were simply human servants of God, albeit extraordinary ones.

In this story, I believe God is calling me to listen to Him in Jesus--Jesus who reveals Himself today in new ways through the words of the Holy Scriptures: Jesus who gives His Real Presence to me in the Sacrament of the Holy Communion, the consecrated bread and wine; and Jesus who is alive in and through me and all the members of Christ's living body, the Church--alive and active through deeds of love, which bring God's healing, His wholeness, to broken human beings and to our broken world.

As we celebrate this Feast of the Transfiguration, may the bright light of Christ, God's living word, transform us, that His love might shine through us into the darkness.