The Story of the Transfiguration – the ultimate in mountain top experiences.
A presentation by Toni Cox at our Morning Praise service on Sunday 14th February.
The expression originated, we are told, in the Bible because of the dealings God had with his people on various mountain tops. But today the term is used in a secular sense – to mean any wondrous, out of the ordinary, spectacular event.
However, with mountains in the Bible, how many jog our memories? Remember these?
1 - Ararat, where Noah`s ark came to rest after the flood and God made a covenant with Noah.
2 - On a mountain in the region of Moriah, God asked Abraham to make a sacrifice of his only son Isaac and God provided the ram as a substitute.
3 - On Mount Sinai God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.
4 - On Mount Carmel Elijah challenges the false prophets of Baal.
5 - On Mount Horeb God met with Elijah.
6 - Jesus taught his disciples on the Mount of Olives.
7 - And it was on a mountain that Jesus was transfigured and, surprise surprise, He was seen talking with Moses and Elijah on that mountain.
So now we have the `Mountain Top Experience` sorted let`s consider the actual Transfiguration, when Jesus`s appearance was changed to a dazzling whiteness.
You don`t need me to remind you that it has been bitterly cold this last week and, listening to the weather forecast daily, it was a case of would we have snow, how much snow would we get or perhaps the snow wouldn`t reach us at all. My grandsons got really excited – they couldn`t wait for the snow – but of course it didn`t come. The best we could do is see the snow in the Northern counties on the T.V. And what did we see – hills clothed in a dazzling whiteness. The snow is a visual reminder of Jesus`s Transfiguration as recounted in Mark`s Gospel, where Jesus is changed to a dazzling whiteness. It is unsurprising that the transfiguration of Jesus took place in the great outdoors, where unexpected beauty may lurk around every corner.
Cold weather and heavy snow may be beautiful but it also causes problems for many people. Walking and driving are more difficult and it is easy for people to become isolated, especially now that Covid-19 means fewer of us are leaving our homes.
The so called “Beast from the East” therefore also gives us the chance to experience God through unexpected acts of kindness, as neighbours are asked to look out for vulnerable people around them. When we see unexpected human actions transfigured the World and allowed you to see God very clearly? When do you think that your actions have shown God to others?
In these ongoing, disturbing times in which we are living I would just like to pass on to you a couple of quotes from C S Lewis`s book ` Surprised by Joy` - a book that had been sitting on my shelves for a while and which I hadn`t got round to reading. Then in the lockdown I read the whole book, which tells how he passed from Atheism to Christianity.
“We can create situations in which we are happy but we cannot create joy – joy just happens.”
And: “You can think that the best of life is behind you but you just don`t know – the key is to keep going - joy might be just around the corner.”
And in case you think I may have forgotten (I haven`t), I do realise that that today is Valentine`s Day and I hadn`t mentioned it, so here goes.
I did consult the authorities and discovered that Saint Valentine watches over the lives of lovers (which you would expect), beekeeper, and epilepsy sufferers as well as those suffering from The Plague. Well, I think that that sounds very interesting in light of the present day situation.
However, in all seriousness and very appropriately, on this day, the 14th February 2021 it gives me great pleasure to publish the Banns of Marriage between
Sholto Christopher Derwent Moyer
Sarah Elizabeth Rose Colville.
If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in Holy Matrimony you are to declare it. This is the second time of asking.
We pray for Sholto and Sarah as they prepare for their wedding.