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2014 03 02 Transfiguration / Transformation

An Anglican priest, a Catholic Priest, and a United Church minister went fishing with a rowboat. After a while, the Anglican priest snagged his hook. He got out of the boat, walk across the water, retrieved his hook, and walked back to the boat. Soon after, the same thing happened to the Catholic priest, and he did the same as the Anglican priest. A little later, the United Church minister snagged his hook. He thought that if the Anglican and Catholic priests could walk across the water, he should be able to do the same. He stepped out of the boat and went down in five feet of water. The Anglican priest said to the Catholic priest, “Maybe we should have told him about the rocks.”
God calls us to step out, take a chance. Before we can do that, we need to trust. To succeed, we need to know the terrain.
Jesus invited his followers to live in a new way, and we are invited to live in a new way, God’s way. This takes transformation, to enter a major change without being able to see the other side. If we hold back, we will fail, but God will give us more chances. The risks we need to take are mostly limited to pride, property and identity. Some people, like the followers of Jesus, will feel called to situations where even their lives may be on the line.
For Peter, James and John, climbing that mountain with Jesus and seeing what they saw, increased their confidence. In our reading from the second letter of Peter, we read how important that event was to Peter many years later.
I don’t know what happened, and I cannot even prove that they actually climbed a mountain, but this story tells us much about the disciples’ experience of Jesus.
I don’t understand how they knew the two other people were Moses and Elijah, but the reference to these two people shows they are important anchor points for the disciples. They were the two great workers of signs and wonders in the mythic history of the Jewish people, and Jesus was understood by the disciples to finish their work.
A curious part of the story is the suggestion by Peter to build shelters. Taking shelter in this overwhelming experience was not their job – they were to take their experience of the Holy with them into the world where it was needed. Occasionally we have mountain top experiences, sometimes in church, sometimes in other places. A faithful response to those experiences is to hold on to them like a glowing ember in a tinder box as we go into our world, creating fire and light where it is needed, creating fire and light when we need it to go on.
We live in a world with many broken parts, and parts that look strong, but are suspended over ground that is being eaten away, creating sinkholes that can swallow up whole buildings. Large parts of the world economy are built on thin air, and events in the Ukraine are the latest reminder about the possible fragility of political systems that are not built on providing a healthy place for everyone in that system. Most governments in Canada for the last 40 years have pursued policies making us increasingly reliant on being hewers of wood and drawers of water.
We are asked to help transform the world to one built on living rock, on love, justice, mercy and wisdom. We begin with ourselves. We need to love ourselves enough to see who we really are and what we really do as well as what we could be and do, and to love ourselves enough to work on becoming the people we would like to be.
At the same time, there are opportunities in the relationships and situations we have, and in the relationships and situations we can develop to work at transforming part of the world around us. It might be in volunteer work in our community, and it might be support of others working on the other side of the world.. Our participation in these activities help our personal transformation along.
An important one for us is to look and take ways to support the transformation of the place of aboriginal peoples in our society. The land we are on is part of the traditional territory of the Siksika Nation, a nation that showed great generosity in the past, even to providing space for another first nation, the Tsuu t’ina, as a place of refuge from another first nation. Their generosity and trust in a few government representatives allowed us to peacefully occupy this land. In many ways that trust was broken, and we are left with working with aboriginal peoples on building better relationships, a work that challenges us to try to be even as half as generous as they were.
In these and other actions, we will encounter difficult moments, some that may last weeks, months or years. To persist through those moments. We will need trust based on real experiences of God in our lives through events and people, and by vicariously sharing the experiencing of others, like those three disciples on that mountain or people doing exceptional things today. In these difficult moments, we may need to pause, take out the glowing ember from our tinder box and light a fire that can warm and cheer us.
May we all live confident in the unconditional love of God as the Spirit helps us grow in our ability to love and to transform.

Comments(2)

  1. Kes says

    Dear Sir, I don’t know your name lol, so you’ll be Mr. Sir for now. I’ve read two of your post, this one and the one before. To be hsonet, I applaud you greatly for your efforts. I know what it feels like to go through what your going through. I, too, am a Gay Catholic. I converted to Catholicism my senior year of HS, and then fell in love with a boy my freshman year of college (didn’t materialise into anything) and was forced to accept the fact that I was gay. However, I also knew God’s love . and that the Catholic Church saw homosexuality as an abomination (as stated in the Catechism). Courage is one of the many groups that encourages gay and lesbian people to maintain a chase life. I was very moved by the post you made saying that, so much can come from a hug, a touch on the arm or hand. Its very beautiful for how powerful the simplicity! I have had my fair share with the Roman Catholic Church. I do not share the belief in a chase life for gay ppl. I do not beleive is reserved for child birth (I have many I won’t get into lol). However I do respect ppl that do remain chase as I respect all ppl that decide to remain chase until marriage. Being a gay catholic is very difficult, in the Catholic community, many times u cannot be tru to urself, even if you want to remain in a chase lifestyle, becasue of the stigma of being gay. In the gay community, you still can’t be tru to yourself, because many gay ppl have been autrocized by various religious organizations that they’ve grown to hate them, and unfortunately the ppl that belong to them gay christians included. Finally, taking the social aspect out, agreeing to stay chase is hard. Its hard to not give into the biological urge to have sex- its unnatural (unless artificially made so) to not have those urges. So, theres ur personal cross- so i’d say. I encourage to pray, and walk the path that Jesus shows you. He’s showed me that I can be Catholic and Gay . even if I choose to marry (u may or may not disagree). Perhaps he’s shown u to be chase eitehr way, you are what you are and God WILL lead you through it.The Catholic Church is the Lords Church. I have never doubted that Roman Catholic- up for debate as much as Eastern Orthodoxy and Asyrian churches are, not including others that are in apostolic succession, depending on someobdies standards. The Old Catholic Church in Europe and American. some parts of the Anlgican and Episcopal Church (debatable but there coudl stil lbe some apostolic succession). But God always comes out in the end.With respect to whether you shud continue courage or not- I would continue. I’m sure there was a miscommunication. If these are ppl of the LORD, then you shud be able to ask, hey= did you all have my number? I heard you all went out to dinner and I wanted to come, I just wanted to make sure you guys had my updated information blah blah blah. REAL CHRISTIANS WILL understand, and SHUD attempt to make adjustments. Feel it out- Satan himself will come down to destroy the most holiest of intentions. Its up to us to find him, and with God’s help always cast him out. If they don’t make amends then thats not of God. God has no cliques, only love, and any group claiming his name shud do ONLY the same for EVERYBODY. Being chase and catholic is hard- you need a social group if this is wat you want. Push for the Courage group. You’ll be in my prayers from now on. God Bless you Mr. Sir.Ernesto

  2. Jim Kenney says

    Just a couple of comments about your comment. My name is attached to my blog. I am not gay, but I believe people who are gay have the same right to experience the benefits of loving relationships, including marriage, as I do. I see the issue of apostolic succession as a remnant of a patriarchal view of the world which values control and sees everything, including God’s many gifts, as forms of property to be managed by the right people. Instead, I am a believer in spiritual succession — let the Holy Spirit decide who is worthy of particular responsibilities.

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