August 6, 2017 - The Transfiguration

 

The Collect

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. Amen.

 

Old Testament

Exodus 34:29-35

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

 

The Response

Psalm 99 or 99:5-9

[The Lord is King;
let the people tremble; *
he is enthroned upon the cherubim;
let the earth shake.

The Lord is great in Zion; *
he is high above all peoples.

Let them confess his Name, which is great and awesome; *
he is the Holy One.

"O mighty King, lover of justice,
you have established equity; *
you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob."]

Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God
and fall down before his footstool; *
he is the Holy One.

Moses and Aaron among his priests,
and Samuel among those who call upon his Name, *
they called upon the Lord, and he answered them.

He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; *
they kept his testimonies and the decree that he gave them.

Lord our God, you answered them indeed; *
you were a God who forgave them,
yet punished them for their evil deeds.

Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God
and worship him upon his holy hill; *
for the Lord our God is the Holy One.

 

The Epistle

2 Peter 1:13-21

I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

 

The Gospel

Luke 9:28-36

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

 

The Homily

The Rev Canon John C Powers

Sunday August 6, 2017 St. Bede's Westport

Feast of the Transfiguration

TODAY IS THE FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION, A WONDERFUL FEAST RECALLING A TIME WHEN JESUS TOOK 3 OF HIS DISCIPLES TO THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN TO PRAY.  THERE, MISTY CLOUDS GATHERED, AND SUDDENLY JESUS BECAME DAZZLNG WHITE, HIS BODY GLlSTENING AS HE WAS TRANSFIGURED FOR A FEW MOMENTS RIGHT BEFORE THEIR EYES.  OUT OF NOWHERE, MOSES AND ELIJAH, BOTH LONG DEAD, APPEARED.  IT IS APPARENT THAT THEIR APPEARANCE WAS TO SHOW THAT JESUS WAS IN THE TRADITION OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS.

IF THERE HAD BEEN DOUBTS WHO THIS JESUS WAS, THOSE DOUBTS WERE ERASED.  THE CLOUDS OPENENED AND A VOICE FROM HEAVEN PROCLAIMED "THIS IS MY SON, MY CHOSEN, LISTEN TO HIM."  DON'T LISTEN BECAUSE HE IS SOME GOOD TEACHER, OR MORAL LEADER, OR TWO-BIT HEALER, BUT HE IS GOD WHO ENTERS OUR WORLD TO DRAW US TO HIM AND TO TRANSFORM US.  THIS FEAST CELERATES OUR FAITH THAT HE IS DIVINE.

OUR BUSINESS HERE AT ST. BEDE'S IS TO OFFER THIS TRANSFIGURED JESUS TO OUR TROUBLED WORLD; THIS IS A PLACE TO MEET HIM, A PLACE TO COME TO KNOW HIM, A PLACE TO BE FED BY HIM, A PLACE WHERE HE COMFORTS US, NURTURES US, AND A PLACE WHERE HE CHALLENGFES US IN OUR OWN SELF CENTERED LIVES, AND A PLACE WHERE WE LEARN WHAT THE WORLD CAN BECOME WHEN JUSTICE AND MERCY, LOVE AND ACCEPTEANCE RULE OUR LIVES.  FINALLY, ST. BEDE'S IS WHERE WE CAN GET A GLIMPSE OF THIS GLISTENING AND SHINING GOD, A GOD WHO GIVES A DAMN ABOUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US.  EVERY SINGLE ONE, AND ALL OF US TOGETHER.

TODAY IS MY LAST SUNDAY AS YOUR SUPLY PRIEST.  THESE HAVE BEEN 17 WONDERFUL YEARS FOR ME.  IT OFFERED ME THE SUNDAY OPPORTUNITY TO CELEBRATE THE EUCHARIST AND TO BE PART OF ST. BEDE'S FAMILY. 

TODAY IS NOT ABOUT ME, BUT ABOUT US.  A SMALL BAND OF CHRISTIAN PEOPLE WHO WORSHIP GOD AND SERVE EACH OTHER AND THE WORLD BEYOND. 

I KNOW OF NO OTHER PARISH WHERE THERE IS SO MUCH UNIVERSAL DEDICATION AND SUCH A STRONG BOND BETWEEN US ALL.  NO FACTIONS HERE!  JUST LOVING EACH OTHER AND SERVING EACH OTHER. 

ST. BEDE'S RECEIVES NO DIOCESAN AID AND PAYS ALL ITS BILLS AND GIVES TO OUR DIOCESE SOME $5000 ANNUALLY FOR MISSION AND MINISTRY.  ST. BEDE'S PAYS A GENERIOUS SUNDAY STIPEND TO ME, AND ALSO GIVS AN ADDITIONAL $3-5000 TO SPECIAL OUT REACH CAUSES, IRON GATE, NEWHOPE AND OTHERS.

I RECALL ALL THOSE MANY FUNERALS WE'VE HAD.  SOMETIMES IT SEEMED THAT SOME OF OUR NEWCOMERS ARRIVED, AND SOON AFTER DIED.  IT WAS CONCIDENTAL, AND YET WE CELEBRATED THEIR LIVES AS IF THEY HAD BEEN HERE ALL ALONG. 

THERE WERE OTHER FUNERALS OF LONG TME PARISHIONERS: THURLENE LANGLEY, PETER AND SUSAN ROLLINS, PATTI LAIRD, DEAN COONROD. WE HAD THE PRIVILEDGE OF COMMENDNG THEM TO OUR LOVING GOD AFTER THEIR DEATHS.

MOST OF THESE DEATHS WERE IN THE NORMAL COURSE OF LIVING, ILLNESS AND AGING.  SAME OF THEM EVEN ILLICITED HUMOR.  IT WAS DEAN COONROD, OUR 30 YEAR ORGANIST, WHO WAS AN EX CIRCUS-CALIAPE PLAYER AND A GIFTED MUSICIAN.  HE MIGHT SOMETIMES WEAR A BRIGHTLY COLORED SATIN JACKET WHILE HE PLAYED "DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES” OR OTHER POPULAR TUNE DURING THE OFFERTORY.   WHEN HIS HEALTH FAILED, IT WAS SUSAN ROLLINS WHO BECAME HIS POWER OF ATTORNEY AND ARRANGED TO GET HIM IN A CARE FACILITY AND HANDLED HIS LEGAL AND OTHER NEEDS.  SUSAN WAS JEWISH THOUGH SHE PARTICIAPTED IN THE ACTIVITIES OF ST. BEDE'S.  SUCH IS THE COMPASSION OF ST. BEDE'S AND ITS DIVERSITY.

ST. BEDE'S IS ACTIVE BECAUSE EACH AND EVERY PERSON HERE PLAYS A PART:  SETTING OF THE ALTAR, CARING FOR THE LINENS, ARRANGNG FOR WEEKLY FLOWERS, PREPARING SNACKS FOR A LIVELY COFFEE HOUR, TEACHING ADULT CLASSES, CARING FOR THE LAWN AND FLOWERS, PULLING WEEDS, TRIMMING HEDGES, READING LESSONS AT THE SERVICES, SERVING ON THE VESTRY, ATTENDING DIOCESAN CONVENTION, EVERYTHING IS COVERED, AND IT ALL RUNS ALONG WITHOUT FUSS AND BOTHER.  

WHEN WE COME HERE, WE DON'T LEAVE OUR HUMANITY AT HOME.  WE ARE NOT "DO GOODERS" OR "HOLIER THAN THOU-ERS'' WE ARE PEOPLE WHO NEED REPAIR FROM TIME TO TIME, AND A HELPING HAND TO GET ALONG IN THIS WORLD.  WE OFFER EACH OTHER LOVE AND KINDNESS, AND STAND READY TO HELP IN OTHER IN TIME OF NEED.  WE LOVE GOD AND SAVOR GOD'S MAJESTY.  

TODAY IS NOT ABOUT ME, BUT ABOUT GOD AND US.  NEXT SUNDAY THE BISHOP'S ASSISTANT, BILL CARROLL WILL BE HERE TO CELEBRATE AND PREACH AND THEN MEET WITH ALL OF YOU AT COFFEE AND DISCUSS OUR FUTURE. THIS IS NOT A TIME OF CRISIS BUT OF CHANGE,   MY ASSESSMENT IS THAT ST BEDE'S WILL GO FORWARD WITH STRENGTH OF PURPOSE, GRATEFUL FOR ITS PAST AND CONFIDENT IN ITS FUTURE. 

THESE DAYS I THINK OFTEN OF BILL AND ROSE BROOKMAN, VERY LONG TIME MEMBERS.  HE, THE FOREVER TREASURER, SHE A TIRELESS WORKER ON THE ALTAR GUILD AND BOTH NEVER MISSED A SUNDAY.  THEY NOW LIVE NEAR FAMILY IN KANSAS CITY.  AND THERE ARE MANY UNKNOWN AND UNNAMED MEMBERS JUST LIKE THAT WHO HAVE MOVED OR DIED.  WE STAND ON THEIR SHOULDERS.

GOD BLESS US EVERYONE, KEEP US ALL SAFE AND SOUND, AND KEEP OUR EYES AND HEARTS ON GOD AND HIS TRANSFIGURED SON, JESUS, WHO TRANSFIGURES YOU AND ME.

AMEN

 

 

 

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