Friday, March 6, 2009

Wanderings for 03 08 09

Good news everyone: our church website is officially up and running. We're still waiting to add some more text and photos, but to see it, go to (as in Wyoming Burlingame Congregational UCC). A young man named Lucas Moore has been working faithfully to put it together (he is the grandson of our own Bea Rosloniec).

When designing the site we told Lucas that we wanted to focus on relationships: families, friends, children, activities. And that is what you will find on the website, as well as stunning photos of our stained glass windows and building. As you go through the website you'll find great photos full of fun memories: weddings, baptisms, softball games, trips, shared meals, worship, and the faces of a few people we have loved and lost. How good it is to be reminded of all that has been good.

But we are not supposed to get stuck there: back in the memories, back in the things that have passed. Instead we are to fondly remember them and to move forward. I think that is part of what this Sunday's Scripture is about. Mark 9:2-9 is known as the Transfiguration. It is retold in three other places in the Bible. Here we have Jesus inviting Peter, James and John to travel up a mountain with him. While there, Jesus becomes transfigured/resplendent and Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus.

To put this into modern terms, it would be like we were hanging out with Pres. Obama and all of a sudden George Washington and Abraham Lincoln showed up. Or we were hanging with Derek Jeeter when Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb showed up. Or we were hanging with Tina Fey when Lucille Ball and Katherine Hepburn showed up. What an amazing experience that would be!

So Peter, saying the first thing that pops into his head, says "Teacher, it is good to be here. Let's build three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." Your Bible may have the words different. Instead of dwellings it may say booths or tents or shrine. And each word changes the context of Peter's statement. Dwelling sounds permanent, booths can refer to a Jewish festival, tents sounds transient, and shrines can just be a small structure along the road (like a statue or sign) that is in honor of someone important.

For this Sunday I want to go with the notion of dwelling: that Peter's immediate reaction is "Hey: this is good, this is grand: let's stay up here forever." That sounds reasonable doesn't it? I mean, here he is in the presence of Jesus and the two greatest prophets who ever lived. Why leave? Why not just stay there and bask in their knowledge, their radiance, their goodness forever?

Well, yeah, that may sound good, at first. But to stay on top of the mountain would not be living life. To stay up there would mean Peter and the rest would miss the other good things that happen in life: family, friends, meals, love, grandchildren etc.

And after time, being on the mountain would get boring, wouldn't it? So, despite Peter's proclamation, eventually Moses and Elijah disappear, Jesus stops being transfigured, and he and Peter, James and John make their way back down the mountain, where life and work, joy and pain, love and loss are waiting.

And they, and we, are all the better for it.

May you enjoy the blessings that come to you today, embracing them for what they are, and then letting them go to embrace the other blessings God is sending your way.

In joy, Pastor G

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