Posts Tagged "Transfiguration"

Sermon February 11: Light for our Days

Posted by on Feb 12, 2018 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon February 11: Light for our Days

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Light-For-Our-Days_E.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church February 11, 2018 Transfiguration Sunday Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture: Mark 9:2-9, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 Prayer of Illumination: O Lord, in the light of your presence we turn our attention to your teaching, seeking what you have to say to us. Bless, O God, the words of my lips and the meditations of our hearts as we reflect upon your word. May your message to us inspire us and may the light of your love shine through us. We pray this all in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen Sermon:                                          Light for our Days You may have noticed that it’s winter in Vermont. The snow, the negative degree temperatures or the wind chill may have tipped you off! Usually winter doesn’t bother me. I’m a hearty New England girl. But something about this winter has made me envious of our friends who’ve left for warmer climates. Lately, though, I’ve noticed the days are getting longer. Have you noticed that, too? I don’t have to turn on the porch light to let the dogs out in the morning. And when I get home at 5:30pm it’s still daylight – ish. It’s nice not to feel hemmed in by a cover of darkness all the time. In his letter Paul reminds the Christians in Corinth, “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” God who gave us light also gave us Jesus whose presence we experience as light to illumine our lives. During the weeks of Epiphany ~ which is the liturgical season that takes us from Christmas to Lent ~ we talk a lot about light. Epiphany starts with the star that the Magi followed to find the Christ Child. And it ends with the glorious light that radiated from Christ on the mountain where he was transfigured. Throughout his ministry Jesus shed light through his healings, his teachings and the lives of the disciples he called to follow. Jesus was a walking epiphany, a manifestation of the divine. Jesus ~ the light of the world. On the day we celebrate today, the Day of Transfiguration (and last Sunday of the Season of Epiphany), I wonder what the disciples thought when they witnessed Jesus transformed before their eyes. The Scripture tells us, “…his clothes became a dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.” And this epiphany included not only a shining Jesus, but a visit from Moses and Elijah as well. Moses and Elijah represent the faith of Israel. Moses the Law and Elijah the Prophets. Both of these men experienced mysterious deaths. (Moses died alone with God in the land of Moab. Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind and chariot of fire.) It was believed that, in the last days, God would send them back ~ Moses and Elijah ~ to usher in the Kingdom of God. And, as if a shining Jesus and a visit from Moses and Elijah wasn’t enough, there was also the voice from heaven. “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.” The Transfiguration was an epiphany to beat all epiphanies. Yet, coming down the mountain Jesus instructed the disciples, “… to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.” The power of the Transfiguration wouldn’t be fully realized until Jesus was crucified and raised. Some have described...

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Sermon February 26: Be Who God Intends You To Be!

Posted by on Feb 26, 2017 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon February 26: Be Who God Intends You To Be!

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Be-Who-God-Intends-You-To-Be-Feb-26-2017_E.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church February 26, 2017 Transfiguration Sunday Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  Matthew 17:1-9, Exodus 24:12-18 Response to the Word (Responsive) Precious Lord, let us walk with you as you have walked with us. May we follow your Spirit to new mountaintops, through low valleys, and even to the cross. May we follow your Spirit to new life, through the grace of Jesus Christ, now and forevermore. Amen. And may the words that I speak and the thoughts that we form be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock and our redeemer. Amen. Sermon:   Be Who God Intends You To Be! This Sunday we may say we are at a crossroads. And, no, I’m not talking about the Oscars. Will La La Land win for best picture? Will Meryl Streep add a fourth statue to her collection? And who will be wearing the best dress!? Despite the Oscar buzz and red-carpet commentary of tonight, I would argue that today we encounter something even more important ~ and spectacular. At this moment between Epiphany and Lent we have a startling story of dazzling brightness, ancient visitors, declarations from heaven and awe-struck disciples. If this were a movie it would be Oscar material, but it is not. It is the story of our faith. Still, the Transfiguration was a major ‘special effects’ moment in Jesus’ life. Jesus was enveloped in a shining light. His face glowed like the sun. His clothes appeared whiter than any bleaching. And then two of the giants of the faith appeared with him. Moses and Elijah stood beside Jesus as a radiant cloud enveloped them all and the voice of God declared, “This is my Son. Listen to him.” And the disciples, the supporting actors, bore witness to the miracle. And the disciples reacted in two ways, which brings us to the conflict in the story. First, Peter suggested making this mountain top miracle a permanent situation. He wanted to move in, make houses and capture the glory forever. Peter was ready to whip out his hammer and nails and erect a shrine so the magnificence of the event would not pass by. But then, before they could do anything, the disciples got scared and fell on their faces, blinking and shielding their eyes from the glare of God’s glory. Those of us looking on from 2,000 years distance recognize Peter’s faux pas. We know we can’t stay in worship forever, because on the flip side of worship is service.   And this is shown in how Jesus led the disciples back down the mountain. After Moses and Elijah were taken back into heaven, Jesus led the disciples right back to the villages to heal and teach and minister to the crowds. The lesson we might glean from this story is that, like the disciples, we are to follow Jesus from our worship back into the world to serve. And, while I think this is a valid interpretation, it lacks something. This interpretation of the Transfiguration doesn’t appreciate the mystery of God. Jesus, just for a moment, lifted the covering of his humanity. The best of what we can do, it seems, is to stand back in awe. The Transfiguration wasn’t about doing, but experiencing, experiencing God’s glory in a new and exciting way through Jesus Christ. In the words of the professor and great preacher, Fred Craddock, to encounter the Transfiguration is to, “…stand before a text full of dazzling light, hovering clouds and a heavenly voice – a text that we cannot explain fully…a text that is simply there night and...

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Sermon February 7: How Overwhelmed Are You?

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon February 7: How Overwhelmed Are You?

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/How-Overwhelmed-Are-You-February-7-2016.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church February 7, 2016 Transfiguration Sunday Rev. Kristabeth E. Atwood Scripture: Luke 9:28-43a, Exodus 34:29-35 Prayer of Illumination: Lord, it is good to be here ~ to hear your word, to share your story. Help us see your Son for who he really is. Help us listen to him, receive his forgiveness, and walk in his light. In His name we pray. Amen. Sermon: How Overwhelmed Are You? How overwhelmed are you? Overwhelmed with work. Overwhelmed with life. Overwhelmed with family. Overwhelmed with health issues. Overwhelmed with finances…………. The word overwhelm has several definitions including: ~ to overcome completely in mind or feeling ~ to overpower or overcome, especially with superior forces; destroy; crush: ~ to cover or bury beneath a mass of something, as floodwaters or debris ~ to load, heap, or treat with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything An excessive amount of anything…..stress, deadlines, paperwork, commitments, guilt, remorse, shame. Being overwhelmed often takes on a negative association. But what about being overwhelmed with good things? Overwhelmed with beauty? Overwhelmed with love? Overwhelmed with joy? Let’s take a look at the scripture for today.   The Transfigurtion. The disciples, with Jesus on the mountain, encounter miraculous shining lights, a visit from Moses and Elijah, and a heavenly voices. It is magical. It is wondrous. Perhaps it is even overwhelming. Later in life Peter refers to his time with Jesus on the sacred mountain writing, “…we were eyewitnesses to his majesty.” Today is the last Sunday in the Season of Epiphany. Epiphany is the season of light and during it we celebrate the many ways God is made known in the world. Truth is, I’m kind of sad to see it end. We get to have some fun in Epiphany. There are wise men and baptisms and weddings. In the words of Thomas Merton, “We live in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through it all the time.” Epiphany is the season we celebrate this shining. Yet this Wednesday we embark on the season of Lent. Lent is a very different season. It is a darker season…a wilderness season….one of penitence and preparation…and one that ends at the cross. Meaningful and sacred in a different way. In Epiphany we celebrate the joy God brings into our lives. At the cross we realize the pain that we can cause each other. We see sin at work and it is undeniable. So maybe that’s why we need the Transfiguration. The shining lights, the voice from heaven. Preacher Phyllis Kersten reminds us of God’s words on the mountain, “Listen to Jesus, God says. We will hear Jesus saying that he will be with us in the wilderness and in all the exits and exoduses of our lives.” The Transfiguration allows us to journey through Lent with a glimmer of hope. The Transfiguration points to what happens after the cross. The Transfiguration looks ahead to the empty tomb in all it’s joy and glory. So what exactly happened on that mountain that day? Honestly, we’ll never know for sure. It’s beyond explanation. But there is one thing we do know. Jesus’ face and his clothes shone with the glory of God. Amazingly, his shining appearance was accompanied by Moses and Elijah (two giants of the Hebrew faith) and the voice from heaven ~ God’s own voice ~ rang clear. But it all ended as quickly as it began. The scripture tells us, “When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.” And the three mountain climbers came down changed men. Peter, James and John...

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Sermon February 22: Divine Meetings

Posted by on Feb 15, 2015 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon February 22: Divine Meetings

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Divine-Meetings-February-15-2015.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church February 15, 2015 Transfiguration Sunday Rev. Krista Beth Atwood Scripture: Mark 9:2-9, 2 Kings 2:1-12 Prayer of Illumination: O Lord, in the light of your presence we turn our attention to your teaching, seeking what you have to say to us. Bless O God the words of my lips and the meditations of our hearts as we reflect upon your word. May your message to us inspire us and may the light of your love shine through us. We pray this all in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Sermon:  Divine Meetings   Here at Faith United Methodist Church we know about meetings, don’t we? On any given night of the week you may find a few of us gathered here for a meeting of one sort or another. We have outreach team meetings, Trustees meetings, worship team meetings, Church Council meetings, Stewardship team meetings, and even meetings to arrange our meetings. Thinking about our fondness for meetings I am reminded of the old light-bulb joke. How many Methodists does it take to change a light bulb? At least 15, one to change the light bulb, and three committee meetings to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad. (That’s another thing about Methodists, we know how to do a good pot-luck.) My friend and instructor Rev. Barb Lemmel, whose father is also a pastor, shared a story about her childhood at a recent Tending the Fire session. When she was a little girl Barb went to a friend’s house to play. After dinner the friend’s father when to the living-room and began watching TV. Barb asked her friend something to the effect of, “What’s wrong with your Dad? Doesn’t he have a meeting to go to?” Barb was so accustomed to her father going off to church meetings every night that she thought that’s what everyone’s parents did. Meetings, though, do date back to Biblical times, right? Our meetings aren’t without purpose. We meet for the very good and real purpose of furthering the Kingdom of God in our small corner of the world and beyond. We come from a long history of people of faith trying to do the exact same thing. So it’s no surprise when Jesus, in this morning’s Gospel lesson, called Peter, James and John to a mountain top meeting. Perhaps these chosen disciples thought Jesus had some special task for them or wanted them to evaluate the other disciples’ work. They probably felt special being summoned when the other disciples were left behind.   Who wouldn’t want to be picked for Jesus sub-committee? But then, when the got to the meeting place, something strange happened. Jesus’ clothes turned dazzling white. Moses and Elijah joined them unexpectedly. A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the beloved. Listen to him.” This kind of think doesn’t usually happen at our Church Council meetings ~ or at least not when I’m there. John Wesley, and other long dead heroes of our faith, don’t usually show up. Our winter coats don’t suddenly become as radiant as the freshly fallen snow. What kind of meeting was this? It is likely that the three disciples wondered the same thing. At least Peter’s struggle to understand it all was captured in his plea, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here…” Peter, forgetting about the agenda, thought they all should stay right where they were and bask in the glory of it all. As Madeline L’Engle put it, this one moment broke, “…ordinary chronology into a million fragments.” There was,...

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Sermon March 2: Blinded by the Glory

Posted by on Mar 3, 2014 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon March 2: Blinded by the Glory

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Blinded-by-the-Glory-March-2-2014.mp3Faith United Methodist Church March 2, 2014 Transfiguration Sunday Rev. Krista-Beth Atwood Scripture: Matthew 17:1-9 Prayer of Illumination: Light of light, True God of true God, as you spoke from the pillar of cloud to Moses and the people, so you spoke from the bright cloud to Jesus and his disciples.  May your word live through us today, that our world of sorrow may be transfigured into joy.  Amen. Sermon: Blinded by the Glory  Any mountain climbers in our congregation this morning?  I’ve climbed a few mountains in Maine and a couple small mountains in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  Over the past few years Gary and I have even made our way up a couple of Vermont mountains.  Does Mt. Philo count? When I was growing up my parents took me on vacation each year to the wilderness of Maine ~ Baxter State Park ~ where we would go hiking, backpacking, canoeing, and mountain climbing.  One year we got part way up Mt. Katahdin (to Chimney Pond) when the weather turned on us ~ the fog rolled in and it began to pour down wet, cold rain.  When we got back to camp we were freezing and totally soaked and it was too wet to even make a campfire.  That wasn’t by best hiking experience! But this morning, in our Scripture, Jesus, along with Peter, James and John, are off on a mountain climbing expedition.  Now, we might wonder what mountain climbing had to do with the mission and ministry of Jesus, but if we think about it for a minute we can recall that mountains were often places where people encountered the presence of God.  We remember Moses going up Mt. Sinai and returning to the people with his face all aglow.  Jesus’ longest sermon in the Bible is the Sermon on the Mount.  In fact, many spiritual traditions portray mountaintops as points of divine / human contact.  So we may not be too far off base to suspect that something special is going to happen in this passage. And happen it does, right?  This is a major ‘special effects’ moment in Jesus’ life.  Jesus was enveloped in a shining light.  His face glowed like the sun.  (Reminiscent of Moses.) His clothes were made whiter than any bleaching.  And then two of the giants of the faith appeared with him.  Moses and Elijah stood beside Jesus as a radiant cloud enveloped them and the voice of God declared, “This is my Son.  Listen to him.” And while all this was going on, what did the disciples do? They reacted in two ways.  First they suggested making this mountain top miracle a permanent situation.  They wanted to move in, make booths and capture the glory forever.  Then they got scared and fell on their faces, blinking and shielding their eyes from the glare of God’s glory.  Blinded by the Light.  Overwhelmed by the glory of God.  Artists throughout the ages have tried to capture it.  Here is one example.  This simple hike turned into something quite spectacular. And it’s clear that this experience had quite a profound effect on Peter, James and John.  The story of what we now call the “Transfiguration of Jesus” is included in three out of the four gospels.  Matthew, Mark and Luke each record this event.  And it is also mentioned in a fourth place in the New Testament.  In Peter’s second letter he alluded to it writing, “We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.”  This wasn’t something Peter easily forgot. But we know that. ...

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