It is not occasioned by perfect circumstances, in fact, most of the
people I know who have great faith or hope live in very difficult
circumstances. Folks who live in ease, conversely, often have very
little faith or hope.
I look at the Gospels and see people desperate, poor, backs against the wall reaching out to Jesus. Maybe having difficulties in our lives aren't such a bad thing, maybe they point us back to Him in ways we have a hard time doing when we are living a live of ease. What do you think?
Today is the day the Church remembers and celebrates the Feast of the Blessed Virgin and remember the
woman Scripture calls "Blessed" for all generations.
Her life was very localized, dusty and seemingly of no more consequence than the thousands
around her that had gone on before. We know very little about her and
then generally only when her life and the Life of her Son connect in
various ways. Somehow I think that is very telling. She never seems
to draw attention to herself, but is God's handmaid, humble and an
example to us all. Jesus is the One Who is important, and her life's
story is only told in connection to His. Isn't that a wonderful way to
She does, however, deserve honor. She was especially chosen to be Theotokos
or the God-bearer. That is an extraordinary fact. Of course Mary is a creature and isn't the origin of God, Who is without beginning or end. But, in the vessel of her womb, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead chose to truly become man. I think that we have to understand that when He became Incarnate, He did not come and "borrow" a human body to drive it around for awhile like some rental car. No, at the moment of His conception in the womb of Mary, a miracle almost beyond comprehension happened. God the Son united Himself with a human nature forever. Divinity took on Humanity and were so closely bound together in Jesus, Son of Mary, that they could never be separated again.
She was real, she was young and she must have been very scared - yet she was willing to be used of God. How
many of us faced such fear and real danger, yet willingly laid our lives
Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you; Blessed are you
among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus; Son of
Mary, Son of the living God, have mercy upon us, now, and at the hour
of our death. Amen.
Since I have returned from Convocation, one expensive thing after another has occurred, roof looking like it is totaled from a spring hail storm, tooth filling falling out, daughter's car with mechanical breakdown, and finding out from my sister the 'bill' for my share of my widowed Mother's home taxes and insurance. Not even mentioning 'back to school' costs for my youngest. This year is going to go out with a bang! I was getting really nervous and kinda overwhelmed, then last Sunday, Fr. Scott read these words from Matthew 14;
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Indeed, how could I doubt? I love how the imagery here shows Jesus immediately reaching out, not next week, not next year, but in the present. He hears our faintest cry, all will be well.
Many of us are fortunate to have in our lives a moment, when we get a glimpse of Who Christ is, and how profoundly He affects our lives and the lives of those around us. Today the Church remembers such a time, when Peter, James, and John, average humans gathered on a high mountain, had such an experience. On that mountain the veil is momentarily drawn aside, and men still on earth are permitted a glimpse of the heavenly reality, the glory of the Eternal Triune God, in shining splendor of Uncreated Light.
Transfiguration of Christ is recorded in the first three Gospels
(Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9: 2-9; Luke 9: 28-36). The fourth does not
contain an account of the event, but John, being one of the three
witnesses, is probably referring specifically to it in 1:14. The
Apostle Peter also recalls his (as well as James’ and John’s) presence
with the Lord on Mt. Tabor: in 2 Peter 1:16-18.
Interestingly enough, Jesus already WAS the Messiah, it was the perception and understanding of the Apostles that was changed. The Uncreated Light of God is always
there. This Light is not part of our creation. It is Uncreated, just
like God is Uncreated. It comes from God and it existed before the
Universe was created. Moses saw it on Mt. Sinai, and this is the Light
that floods the City of God in Rev. 22. This Light of God, the energies
emanating from the Triune Being, is always about us, yet humans rarely
In the Transfiguration, we along with the disciples present see the
glory of the Kingdom of God present in majesty in the Person of
Christ. As we noted above, it is not Christ Who is changed, but the Apostles with Him. They see that in Him, all the fullness of God was pleased to
dwell. Even so, the Scriptures tell us that
the Apostles told no one of what they had seen. It is hard sometimes
to translate to others what mountaintop experiences we have had with
Christ, but hopefully we over come our reluctance and put into words
what the Spirit has shown us. May that Light, Uncreated since before the world began, shine on us also.
O God, Who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses Your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in His beauty; Who with You, O Father, and You, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.
A lot of people are in a turmoil in the Anglican Communion these
days. The progressives point out the bald faced power politics played
by the right, the conservatives point out the fuzzy thinking and rushed
agenda of the left. What is the end of all this? Are hoards of
unchurched people pouring into the "Continuing", conservative "Anglican"
churches? Hm. Not that I see. Are hoards of people pouring into the
Mainline Episcopal Church? Not that I see.
But is that a problem? What is the real point here? Is it to save our
ancestral worship that we are comfortable in, our vestments, incense,
male (presumed straight) Bishops OR is the point to worship Christ and
Him crucified? To invite others along side to do the same, and to
reach out in His name to all who enter our door or cross our path. It
doesn't matter if we follow the "faith once delivered" if our youth
refuse to attend. Don't get me wrong, I love my Church, and all the worldwide Communion, and I see so many faithfully following Christ across the world. I do, however get tired of the bickering, and wish we could set it aside.
Be attractive, be like Jesus, Who lived among sinful people yet drew them to Him. That will draw people to Him, not our Church, because after all, I think people can tell when we are following causes and not Christ.
Gracious Father, we pray for Your holy Catholic Church. Fill it
with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt,
purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is
amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in
want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ Your Son our Savior. Amen.