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    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 2, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 9, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 16, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…

Last Sunday after the Epiphany March 2, 2014

Exodus 24:12-18

Psalm 99

2 Peter 1:16-21

Matthew 17:1-9

Our first lesson takes us back three thousand years. The people of God have arrived at Mount Sinai. God has called Moses to go to the top of the mountain to receive the tablets of the law. Herbert O’Driscoll reminds us that back in those days, people thought that gods lived on mountains because mountains are elevated, reaching to the heavens. He tells us that at that time Mount Sinai was an active volcano, so when we read of fire and smoke coming from the mountain, we have to imagine the active volcanoes we have seen in pictures or perhaps experienced.(O’Driscoll, The Word Today, Year A, Vol. 1, p. 120.)

Back in those days, people truly believed that you could not look on the face of God and live, You could not get close to God and live through it. What courage Moses shows in going to the top of the mountain to meet with God! The elders go part way up. He tells them to stay and wait. Then Moses and Joshua go to the top of the mountain. They stay for forty days and forty nights.

What a different experience we have of God because of Jesus coming to be with us.

Six days after Peter says that Jesus is the Savior, Jesus takes Peter and James and John and they go up the mountain. Scholars tell us that it was probably Mt. Hermon, near Caesarea Philippi. Jesus is transfigured. He becomes who he really is. Moses and Elijah are there, showing that Jesus is a great leader along with the spiritual giants of his people.

I can’t help but think of our favorite super heroes. Mild mannered Clark Kent ducks into a phone booth and emerges as Superman. Jesus has shared meals with the disciples, taught them, encouraged them, loved them. He has been one of them. He has been and is a fellow human being. Now they see that he is something much more than human. They see what they and we can become as spiritual beings.

Peter wants to capture the moment. Oh, how we want to save these mountaintop experiences for all time! But we can’t. Nor can we live at that level of heightened excitement all the time. We would die of heart attacks.

They see who he really is—the Son of God—and the voice of God confirms the fact. They are terrified. They still believe that you cannot be near God and live. But Jesus touches them and reassures them, He tells them not to be afraid. Everything has changed because of Jesus. We can now walk with God, We do not have to be afraid.

This is the scene we see on this last Sunday before the beginning of Lent. As we prepare to walk the way of the Cross, we see Jesus in his glory. This reminds us that, with Jesus, there is always light in the midst of darkness, wholeness in the midst of brokenness, life in the midst of death. It also reminds us that we are on a journey of transformation.

Our epistle from Peter talks about something very powerful. Think what it was for people to hear about Jesus from someone who had gone up the mountain with our Lord. Think what it must have been like to hear about Jesus from one of the people who had spent all that time with our Lord, someone who had walked and talked with Jesus, someone who knew Jesus as friend, mentor and teacher, someone who had seen Jesus transfigured on that day.

This is someone who can convey the very presence of Jesus to us, someone who can bring us into the presence of Jesus. By the time this letter was written, the Church was undergoing persecution. Peter writes, “You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

The reality of Jesus, his love and his grace, his presence walking with us through the challenges of life, is a powerful thing. He is the light in the darkness. He brings a new day of hope, and faith rises again in our hearts.

This Wednesday we will gather to begin Lent. We will have ashes on our foreheads, which will remind us of our mortality and our frail humanity. We will begin to walk the Way of the Cross.

As we prepare for Lent, let us think about these two mountaintop experiences. In the first one, Moses and Joshua went up the mountain, and it was terrifying. God’s power was something to be feared. In the second experience, with Jesus and James and John, yes it was awe- inspiring and scary to hear the voice of God, but, when it was all over, Jesus was there alone before them. Yes, he is the Savior, and he walks down the mountain with us and keeps on walking with us just as he had before.

Jesus is one of us. Yet he is God walking the face of the earth. He is fully human and fully divine. And we are going to walk the Way of the Cross with him. And he is going to face the worst of what warped human power can do. And it is going to be awful. But, through it all, there is going to be that light shining in the very darkest places. The day will dawn, and the morning star will rise in our hearts.

Amen.

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