Here is LAST week’s sermon. We had communion and brought in new members, so it was extremely short. But I tried to pack a lot in.
Rehoboth Congregational Church
March 2, 2014
This Is Our Mountaintop
I am reading a book right now called, take this bread: The spiritual memoir of a twenty-first-century Christian. It is written by Sara Miles, a journalist who was born and raised as an atheist, but found faith when she walked into a church and received communion for the first time.
Here is what she has to say about the Christian faith:
But this is my belief: that at the heart of Christianity is a power that continues to speak to and transform us. … It proclaims against reason that the hungry will be fed, that those cast down will be raised up, and that all things, including my own failures, are being made new. It offers food without exceptions to the worthy and unworthy, the screwed-up and pious, and then commands everyone to do the same. It doesn’t promise to solve or erase suffering but to transform it, pledging that by loving one another, even through pain, we will find more life. And it insists that by opening ourselves to strangers, the despises or frightening or unintelligible other, we will see more and more of the holy, since, without exception, all people are one body: God’s.
Miles reminds us that the Christian faith is not something that has happened; it is something that is still happening. And even more than that it is something that is happening to all of us. All people are worthy of God’s grace and presence; and even more than that, all people are able to experience it on an individual and personal level as well.
One of the greatest joys of being in ministry is having the opportunity to hear people’s stories. People welcome me into their lives and invite me to be part of their journeys of faith. I walk with them through the good and the bad; I see God’s grace and presence burst into their lives in the most unexpected ways and places.
Ministry has taught me that there is no one universal way that God enters into our lives. God speaks to us through moments of chaos and confusion as well as moments of stillness and silence. God comes to us when we are experiencing both tragedy and joy. God’s presence knows no barriers. There is no formula that grants us access to God’s grace; it is just available to us always.
This morning is Transfiguration Sunday. Today we remember moments in our religious tradition where God entered the lives of ordinary individuals. God appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai and Moses entered the cloud and went up the mountain for 40 days.
And then God appeared to some of the disciples – Peter, James and John – on a high mountain when Jesus was transformed in front of them, appearing with and speaking to Moses and Elijah. These moments not only defined who these individuals were, but also who God was and who God was calling them to be.
This was what they experienced on the mountaintop.
I think that if there is one thing that these stories teach us, it is that Christianity is not simply about believing; it is about experiencing. It is about experiencing God in our midst, on a personal and powerful level.
Now we may never literally experience something like this; but I can say with absolute certainty that at some point in our lives we will all find ourselves on a metaphorical mountaintop. We will all experience a moment when God comes into our midst and boldly proclaims the Good News to us. This moment may happen in the distress of a hospital room, in the quiet of the woods during a winter hike or in room full of laughter and fellowship. It may happen in a worship service or it may happen in a bidding war over cinnamon sticks at the church dessert auction. It may happen as we put our children to bed and sing to them, as we care for an elderly family member or as we gather around a table and share a meal with others. It may happen in the noisy commotion of a crowded place or it may happen in the peaceful silence of an empty space.
This is our mountaintop.
This – the lives that we lead, the people that we touch, the outreach that we take part in – this is our mountaintop. And it is on this mountaintop God comes into our lives and shines his light upon us. It is on this mountaintop that God reveals himself to us, boldly declaring his love for us and calling us into his ministry.
Remembering the transfiguration reminds us that God’s revelation to humanity did not just happen once. This is our mountaintop and God continues to reveal himself to us and to transform us every single day of our lives and every single step we take on our journeys of faith.
With great joy in our hearts, we welcome 16 adults and 9 children into our church this morning. God is truly working and moving in incredible ways throughout this community of faith. Through our growth, vitality and vibrancy, we are seeing tangible reminders of our still speaking God’s presence and grace. We are seeing it in laughter, we are seeing it in tears, we are seeing it in love, we are seeing it outreach, we are seeing it in song and we are seeing it as each and every one of us transformed in a way that only God can do.
This is your mountaintop.
Let yourself be transformed.
Thanks be to God!