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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 Year A RCL February 26, 2017

Exodus 24:12-18
Psalm 99
2 Peter 1:16-21
Matthew 17:1-9

The Epiphany season, the season of light and mission, is coming to a close. We are about to begin the journey of Lent. In our opening reading, God’s people have escaped their slavery in Egypt, but they are going to embark on their forty days of journeying in the wilderness.

God calls Moses to go up on Mount Sinai. Moses will receive the tablets of the law. This is a terrifying journey for Moses. Herbert O’Driscoll reminds us that Mt. Sinai at this time was an active volcano. Moses is a very smart man, He does not go into this terror alone. For the first part of the trip, in addition to his assistant Joshua, he takes the seventy elders plus Aaron and Hur. As he moves to the final ascent,  he leaves Aaron and Hur in charge of the assembly. They will help to resolve any conflicts that may arise.

Moses remains on the mountain for forty days. When he comes back down, the people have already grown impatient and have fashioned the golden calf.

In our gospel for today, Jesus has just told the disciples that he is going to have to go to Jerusalem, that the authorities are watching his every move, and that he is going to die. He has also asked them who they think he is, and Peter has made his passionate and forceful statement that Jesus is the Messiah.

Jesus takes his three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, and leads them up the mountain. Jesus is transfigured. He becomes luminescent, dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appear with him. They even talk with him, reminding us that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. It is an impressive, even scary, scene. Peter tries to capture the moment. offering to build three dwellings, one for each of the three revered figures. As we know, we cannot hold on to these moments. They are incredibly powerful and life-changing, but their meaning can be held only in the heart and mind.

Then God speaks and reminds us who Jesus really is. God also adds the wise command, “Listen to him.” With this, the disciples are totally overcome with fear. They fall to the ground. It is one thing to climb up a high mountain with your beloved teacher and Lord and see him utterly transformed.  It is quite another thing to hear the voice of God saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

They have lost their footing. They have perhaps even lost consciousness. In any case, they have fallen onto the ground. The text says, “They were overcome by  fear.” They are shaking in terror. They are beside themselves. They have no idea what to do.

They have seen Jesus as he truly is. Peter was already aware of this reality, and I think the others had realized it, too. But now the close relationship between Jesus and God is completely apparent. They may have thought they were climbing the mountain with their friend and teacher, Jesus, whom they loved and admired, but now it is clear that Jesus is the Son of God. Peter and James and John have now been in the presence of the living God. We have to remember that, even in the time of Jesus, people believed that you could not be in the presence of God and survive. And yet they have. They may be on the ground shaking with terror, but they are still alive.

Jesus has told them what is going to happen, and now, they may be wanting to run for their lives. Away from the turmoil and violence. Away from the horror of the cross. But they cannot do it. Their legs are like rubber and they are paralyzed with fear.

And then something amazing happens. Jesus comes and touches them. Maybe he puts a reassuring hand on their shoulder. In times of fear and lostness, a touch can heal as nothing else can. Not only does he touch them, he also says something that they will remember all their lives. He says, “Get up and do not be afraid.” “Get up and do not be afraid.”

How many times have we been paralyzed by fear, or helpless with fear and Jesus comes and calls to us to get up and not be afraid. How many times will Peter and James and John remember this moment and these words from our Lord as they go about their ministries?

They will remember these words and the love of Jesus as they mourn his death. They will remember these words and the love and healing and forgiveness of our Lord as they realize what has happened on the first Easter.

Every year we read the gospel of the Transfiguration on this Last Sunday after the Epiphany. I believe that we do this because we need to know who Jesus really is as we prepare for our Lenten journey. Jesus is the one who touches us, touches our places of fear and doubt, and calls us to get up, have faith, and follow him.

This year, our Bishop has given us the gift of the Lenten Program, “Living Life Marked as Christ’s Own.” As you follow this program though Lent, you can also subscribe to the video series 5marksoflove.org. You will receive a daily email, a video, and a question for reflection. Please see your booklet to find out more.

Lent is a time to grow closer to our Lord, as the old hymn says, “To see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly. day by day.” May we follow him. Amen.

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