February 19, 2009

celebrations and transitions

This Sunday is when we celebrate the Transfiguration and after five weeks of exploration on the Lord's Prayer - I am more than ready for something new in worship.

I have been thinking a lot about what the Transfiguration symbolizes for the life of the church. Besides simply being a remembrance of the event witnessed by the disciples, besides being an affirmation that the law and the prophets were fully behind the ministry of the Son of God, the Transfiguration comes at an important juncture in Mark and in important juncture in the church year.

In Mark, Jesus is setting his face towards Jerusalem. Life as it was for the disciples would never be the same. And in many ways, we too are setting our faces towards Jerusalem as we enter the season of Lent.

But I think that the Transfiguration also serves as a transition point in which we need to remember where we have been and let that be seen in the light of God's glory, but then set it behind us and move forward. The disciples got the glory part, but they wanted to enshrine the moment, build tabernacles, and stay in that moment. We need to take a moment to sit in the glory of what we have accomplished, but then let it go and realize that our journey has only just begun.

So that idea of celebrating a moment and then moving on is really in the back of my mind.

In our congregation, we have a lot to celebrate. We just had a hugely successful dinner to raise money for our youth ministry. We gave money to many valuable missions in the last year. We increased our involvement in worship and other activities. And the thing that amazed me, we paid our apportionments 100% for the first time in years.

But we can't say - oh, well, we accomplished that, look how great we were, and be done. We have to keep working. We have to keep seeing what changes need to be made. We have to keep following the guidance of the spirit. And that means coming down off of the mountain top, rolling up our sleeves, and getting to work.

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