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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (March 2014)

posted Feb 25, 2014, 2:49 PM by Pastor Russ Crouthamel

On March 2, we will celebrate the festival of the Transfiguration of our Lord. The Transfiguration was the event when Jesus revealed to his disciples – Peter, James, and John – the coming glory of God he would bring to God’s people. Peter was so enthralled by this revelation that he declared they should build three dwelling places for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Peter wanted to remain on the mountain where God’s glory was revealed to him. But Jesus leads them off the mountain and back to the path of the cross. He warned those three disciples that they shouldn’t tell anyone what they had witnessed until after the “Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” For the glory of God in Jesus Christ would only come through the cross.

The Transfiguration is always celebrated the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Why is this festival celebrated prior to Lent? It is a reminder to us that the glory of God can only come through the cross of Christ. Yes, we can have our private times of worship and prayer away from the world so that we can center ourselves on God’s promise. Yes, we can gather together as a specific group of people for times of fellowship with Christ as the center. Nevertheless, Jesus always commands us to come down from our “mountains” to go into the world and serve. Jesus did not remain in the wilderness, on the mountain, or off in his private times of prayer. He returned to the crowds, entered into the suffering of the people, and healed, taught, and fed them. He then made his journey to the cross. He suffered and died so that the glory of God could be revealed through his resurrection. He sacrificed himself so all people of this world would be redeemed and saved. He gave his life so that we might LIVE!

On March 5th, Lent will begin with observance of Ash Wednesday. I invite you all to come and worship as we are reminded, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The cross of ash placed on your foreheads will serve as a remembrance that it is only through the cross of Christ do we have life in God’s kingdom. The cross of ash is a visible sign that God’s glory will only ever come through the cross – a sign of suffering and death. Yet, it is a sign that promises to us eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and salvation.

Then, go out into the world to serve! What kind of service can you do? The possibilities are endless. Volunteer at the Crosstown food pantry or a program at the Salvation Army. Go and visit a shut-in of the parish. Call someone who is facing a time of trouble, listen to their concerns, and say a prayer. Help a stranger in the community if you see that person having difficulty completing a task. Send a card to someone you haven’t seen for awhile. Open your home for a time of food and fellowship. Pick someone up who has trouble driving to worship. If you need direction, come to me and I can help you find a way to serve (that is part of my calling!).

Yet, don’t forget this vital aspect to your service. Through your service, share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’t be afraid to share the Word of God’s love. Tell others what God has done for you and what God seeks to do for them. Declare that God’s light shines in this world filled with darkness and despair. Always be welcoming, loving, and forgiving to the people you encounter so you can be a reflection of our God.

In Christ – Pastor Maureen