Our secretary was on annual leave for a week commencing February 24th, so I was expecting a lot of extra work that week. On Monday I was able to concentrate on my work which was good. I had some extra work on Tuesday so I stayed an extra half hour at work, but as usual the work really piled up on Thursday so I stayed till 6pm and managed to do most of it; I had not wanted the secretary to have too much of a backlog to catch up on.
On Friday I was busy helping students at the Acorn Centre as usual and enjoyed relaxing with my beloved in the evening. On Saturday March 1st we ran a coffee morning in aid of Fairtrade at St Peter’s church. I began helping at 9.30 and time flew as we had a steady stream of customers and I suddenly realised that it was 12.50 and my stint was supposed to finish at 12.30! I flopped at home and was glad to relax with my beloved, but I was thrilled that the coffee day had been going so well.
On the previous Tuesday Mark, my superintendant minister had asked me if I could take the service at Killinghall on March 2nd, so I was finishing preparing for it that week. The theme of the service was the transfiguration of Jesus. We began worship by singing ‘Immortal, invisible God only wise’, a hymn which took me back to my junior school days, when although I did not understand it, I felt it showed how God is beyond understanding. After the opening prayers I incorporated a dramatised version of the Transfiguration according to Matthew 17v1-9 and added pauses for other members of the congregation to act out the roles that were being described by the readers. Much to my delight even 2 of the children played the disciples with their mother, Jesus led the disciples round the church (up the mountain) and it seemed to be quite effective. We then sang ‘Lord the light of your love is shining’ before the children left for their group. I then read Exodus 24v12-18 and then 2Peter1v16-21 was also read. Before I preached the sermon we sang ‘May the mind of Christ my Saviour’. I described the courageous obedience of Moses who accompanied by Joshua went up the mountain where they were covered by cloud, and he waited until God called him, and stayed as long as God wanted. The cloud and the fire looked terrifying and awe inspiring for the people at the camp. The presence of God would have been have been intimidating. Jesus took his closest disciples with him up the mountain and as they watched they saw Jesus transformed and in conversation with Moses and Elijah; he had gone there to commune with his father as he was on the way to Jerusalem and wanted to have confirmation that he was doing what God wanted. The whole experience seems authentic to me, when Peter started suggesting the building of shelters for Jesus and Moses and Elijah; he wanted to hold on to the special moment. When they heard the voice of God the disciples were terrified and fell to the ground. Jesus was affirmed as God’s son in whom he was well pleased. He touched the disciples and told them not to be afraid and get up. Everything was then back to normal and they returned down the mountain to face the struggles of life. Jesus had to heal a boy who the disciples had failed to heal.
After Peter had seen Jesus transfigured and recognised his divinity on that mountain, the memory never left him and inspired him years later. Often too in our Christian lives a mountain top experience is followed by difficult times and yet if we hold onto that previous experience that helps us bring those struggles to the cross and keep our eyes fixed on our Lord and Saviour and then he lifts us up again. The presence of Jesus encourages us and empowers us to carry on.
After the sermon we sang ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord’ to lead into the intercessions. Our worship concluded as we sang ‘Give me the faith which can remove.’