Tag Archive for 'transfiguration'

Last Epiphany March 6, 2011

2 Peter 1:16-21                                                                   

Matthew 17:1-9                                                                    

I don’t know about you, but as I go along through life there are little things people say to me or little things that happen – almost incidentally at the time – that I come back to again and again, that are so much more important than all the hours I spent in school or all my attempts to learn big truths.

One afternoon back when I was in seminary – this was in rural Wisconsin, country a lot like here – I was out on a walk with an old man who was a visiting teacher. He happened to be the retired Archbishop of Canterbury, but that isn’t really important to the story. It was mud season, which they have in Wisconsin like we have here. We were walking along this muddy road, looking up at the willow trees that were beginning to turn gold and some migrating geese honking their way north, and the beautiful spring sky. And all of a sudden, old Bishop Ramsay stumbled in a muddy spot, catching hold of my arm before he fell.

“This is a lesson, John,” he said. “In life you have to keep your eyes on the sky, but your feet in the dirt.” He was actually talking about life in the Church, but it’s true about all life: eyes on the sky, feet in the dirt. To live a happy and productive life, we need vision, goals, dreams, a horizon, hopes. But we also need to keep our feet on the ground, in the mud and the dust. Life is a lot of plodding along, one foot in front of another. Continue reading ‘Last Epiphany March 6, 2011’

Last Epiphany February 14, 2010

Exodus 34:29-35                                                                

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2                                                      

Luke 9:28-43

Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing [on God’s glory]. — 2 Corinthians 3:12

This is one of the central themes in the New Testament, indeed in Christianity as a religion: that with Jesus Christ no longer is God veiled, a terrible presence before whom we can only cringe in fear, whom we  can only approach indirectly, through observing a code of complex rules and through the rituals of a sacred priesthood. No, our God is the God revealed in Jesus, a human being like ourselves. Jesus who knows our weakness, our doubts, our confusion, our sins. But Jesus who has saved us from ourselves, who loves us and calls us to be with him.

It is a very powerful idea. We make a mistake if we treat it as simply a contrast between Judaism and Christianity. The contrast between the veiled God and the transparent God runs through all religions. Continue reading ‘Last Epiphany February 14, 2010’

Last Epiphany February 22, 2009

2 Corinthians 4:3-6                                                            

Mark 9:2-9                                                                          

 

I am not usually into yard sales, which I realize means I miss out on one of the great opportunities of local life. But driving along Concord Stage Road one day last summer I saw a yard sale that I had to stop for. The reason was a mounted deer’s head, just the thing to bring home to Anne and hang on our screened porch. It turned out the deer’s head was priced beyond my reach (which may have saved my marriage). But browsing the sale was an experience I’m glad I had. Continue reading ‘Last Epiphany February 22, 2009’