Sermon Summary for Sunday, February 26th, 2017 | Respectfully Submitted by Brenda Worley
Mother Mary spent most of the previous week recovering from a virus, so we were very pleased that she felt well enough to be our preacher and celebrant on this Transfiguration Sunday.
During her recuperation, she spent some time watching the news and realized that the breaking stories such as plans to build up our nuclear weapons stockpiles, strengthening homeland security, protests for the Affordable Care Act, continuation of for-profit prisons, and reports of crimes may cause anxiety and fear among some. News from the world of politics may thrill some while frightening others. Regardless of your stand, this division and angst is not helpful to our mission to live a Christian life.
The gospel for the day is the record of the Transfiguration of Jesus which was witnessed by Peter, James, and John. In this story from Matthew, Jesus goes up a high mountain and is transfigured so that his face shined like the sun. Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with him. Peter wanted to build dwellings for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah so they could stay on the mountain. When the voice of the Father declares that Jesus is his Son, the disciples are overcome by fear. Jesus commands them to rise and not to be afraid, but not to tell anyone about what they have seen until after his resurrection.
Let us identify with Peter in this story. Just days earlier he had a “mountain top” revelation when he realized that Jesus was the Messiah. However, when Jesus told him of his death and resurrection, Peter rebuked Jesus and was rebuked by Jesus. Now Peter was again having a “mountain top” experience, but had to be aroused from his fear.
Like Peter we are called to hear Jesus through all the anxiety and fear we face each day. We are called to “be raised up” and to come down from the mountain and be all that God made us to be. Realizing that it is our fear that holds us back more than anything else, let us hear Jesus saying “do not be afraid.” Meditate on what it would look like to live into the fullness of God. Know that you can choose calm in the midst of chaos, love as the answer to disagreement, steadfastness in the face of uncertainty, and Jesus as the alternative to fear.