Saturday, February 25, 2017

Gospel text for Sunday 26 February 2017

Matthew 17:1-9        Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

Reflection       On Monday evening I witnessed a transfiguration, a great change in the appearance and form of some two hundred people sitting on the pews of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Tucson, present for "Welcoming the Stranger" A Multi Faith Prayer Service." It was an exalting, glorifying and spiritual change as the painter’s palette of faces; dark and light, middle eastern and western, prodigies, refugees, immigrants, the privileged and asylum seekers sat together, prayed together and sang each other’s songs while climbing the mountain together to reach the pinnacle of our prayers, “Welcoming the Stranger.”

On Monday evening as I was privileged to sit with other religious leaders and see and hear and worship with Moses, and Abraham, Noah and Jesus, Mohamad and the One that has no name,  "the glory of the Lord settled on the mountain.” Like night and day music perfumed the air; from the penetrating notes of the Sikh rabab, to the perfectly harmonized hymn of the Latter Day Saints, the driving rhythms of the African Baptist choir, to our Jewish and Muslim brothers’ redolent chanted prayers. Yes, this is the Kingdom of God. Yes, this multifarious congregation has been transfigured in my sight. And the wonder and glory of God’s kingdom was present. 

Here is the thing. Mountaintop moments do not last. Rather they give us a glimpse of what is possible. In order to sustain the kingdom of God we must allow ourselves to be transfigured by choosing to live our lives in imitation of Jesus. Like Jesus we are  servants of our God sent to love and care for all people, especially the foreigner, the stranger, the alien, the enemy, the outcast or the least among us. It is time to allow ourselves to be touched by Jesus, to take his counsel to the disciples and us to heart, “Get up and do not be afraid.” It is good to come together to pray. And it is time to come together and act without fear. It is time to take our mountaintop moments into the ordinary moments of our lives. 

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