yearC transfiguration
 

 

This Week's Sermon:

Luke 9:28-36 - Experience the Mountaintop But Don't Forget the Valley Below
                               
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Many of us have had them, those times when we felt like we were on top of the world, really happy, confident that we knew all the answers, could solve any problem that came up. Or we felt that we were really close to God, really in tune with God’s plan for us. In those moments we were excited and alive, and everything seemed new.

 

The moment might have come at some exciting event in your life: graduation, baptism, your first kiss, your first day on your first job, your wedding, the birth of a child, even catching your very first fish. It might have been something really spiritual, like a week at church camp or a church retreat. Or it might have been something of a smaller, quieter nature, like a very intimate conversation with your father or mother when you felt that they honestly understood what you were saying and why you felt the way you did.

 

We call these "mountaintop experiences," and oh how we hate to come down off that mountain! We want to hang on to that moment for as long as we can. "Let ’s just stay right here and let the rest of the world go by for a while." But to freeze that one moment in time shuts off the possibility of the next moment.

 

In the Gospel reading for today we hear the writer of Matthew give his version of the event which we call "The Transfiguration of Jesus." Mark and Luke also contain an account of this strange occurrence, with some minor variations in the telling. It’s one of those rare moments we were just talking about, one of those mountaintop experiences of life, which somehow defy adequate description and challenge us to stretch our concept of reality to the point that we usually wind up asking the question, "Did this really happen?" Events such as the Transfiguration somehow connect us with the mystery of creation and eternity.

 

For Jesus it was a time of confirmation and affirmation of his ministry. For Peter, James, and John it was a brief glimpse of the transcendent, a peek at the reality that lies just beyond everyday life.

 

But notice that Jesus quickly led the disciples back down off that mountaintop – in spite of Peter’s desire to pitch a tent and camp there for a long while. Jesus led them back into the daily routine of teaching and preaching and caring for the broken and hurting people of the world they lived in, back to the reality of life in the valley...

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Mel Gibson's powerful new movie will be released the first week of Lent focusing on the last week of Christ's life. No preacher should miss addressing this important film. The new Lenten Series from eSermons.com "The Passion of the Christ" follows the movie's themes complementing the current events and topics that will be in the press these next two months. Here is the series:

     THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST

     Lent 1: His Triumphal Entry

     Lent 2: His Clearing of the Temple

     Lent 3: His Teachings

     Lent 4: His Last Supper & Betrayal

     Lent 5: His Trial

     Lent 6: His Death

     Easter: His Resurrection

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What Is Unique About Christianity?

 

The story of Jesus sitting and debating the Law with rabbis reminds me of another debate that took place in a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God became incarnate in human form. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.

 

Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, armful of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what's all this rumpus about?” Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We're debating what's unique about Christianity.” “Oh, that's easy,” answered Lewis, “it's....

 

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sermons.com presents Leonard Sweet