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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

Good morning! Although I am one of the very early members of RGBP (I think I've been around since day one)this is my first posting ever to this blog!

As part of our newer, improved format we are trying some new things in place of the round-ups. Please let us know if you like the changes.

I am starting a new thing with my congregation, a Monday evening lectionary discussion group of the upcoming Sunday's passages. I found that in discussing this new learning opportunity, few people in my congregation knew what the Revised Common Lectionary was, or why/how a preacher would want to use it. If you want to know more about the RCL, go here.

I am concentrating on the Gospel lesson for this upcoming Sunday, Transfiguration Sunday on the liturgical calendar. The passage is Mark 9:2-10.

My initial thought is this: Why is Peter so eager to build a monument to what he has seen?

A few years ago, I had the occasion to visit an actual Olympic village:Squaw Valley in California, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Squaw Valley is now a ski resort, of course. I tried to imagine what it must have looked ike all those years ago, filled with people, and the excitement of the games. But today it is an empty shell. There are signs everywhere commemorating the games gone by, but the Olympic Village looks kind of pitiful by todays standards. The momument they built to those days did not stand the test of time in the way that the games themselves do.

What are the ways we build momuments to our experiences of God? Are we willing to live into the moments of transformation instead of building booths of rememberance of days gone by?

What are your preachng thoughts this week?

(Note to those who are not preaching this week: please participate as well! The more wisdom, the better!)


  1. As a new poster, I am having trouble editing this post to clean up a few little blips that slid by on the first few readings. Suggestions, anyone?

  2. Didn't notice the blips. As to the reading, maybe Peter is acting out of his tradition. Throughout the Old Testament, the people put up what might be called "a standing stone" or monument after a momentous interaction with God. Perhaps that's why Peter wanted to set up camp and build some booths. God wouldn't stand for it though. There were more important things to do than build a nice monument to the moment. And for some strange reason, I am reminded of why I don't video tape events any more. I use to drag the camera on vacations and school events, only to realize that because I was the camera operator I was missing the actual event. I couldn't be present in the moment. All too often we get so caught up in memorializing things- in getting things done "the right way"- in fussing over this and that- that we forget to be in the present. Peter needed to be in the moment. The Transfiguration was a vision he would need to remember in the future. If he was busy building a monument, he'd miss the real event.

  3. I'm not preaching this week (Presbytery meets all weekend) but your mention of Squaw Valley made me think of the winter games in Sarajevo.

    The games there were so beautiful and picturesque, and only a short time later the whole place was a bombed out mess.

    Peter was in such a hurry to build a "permanent" commemoration of the holy site. What he failed to see was how temporary our human constructs really are. If we're really honest, we would say the same about our cathedrals and buildings. This might be an opportunity to preach on the church as people, not buildings.

  4. I'm curious about (and hope to be preaching about) how one gets to the mountain in the first place. I mean, it's hard to build a monument to your spiritual experience before you even have one. So I think I'm going to be concentrating on the invitation to J, P, and J to go to the mountain, and the courage it must have taken them.

  5. I love the idea of a tuesday lectionary exploration! I'm going to be preaching at a college chaplaincy on Sunday (my first supply gig!). I was thinking about moments of transition... which relates more to the OT (Elijah being taken to heaven, and the mantle being passed to Elisha) - but I think "mountaintop experiences" can be important moments of transition as well.

  6. I'm sort of with Juniper this week-- I want to talk about the idea that Jesus asked P, J & J to go up there, and experience the glory, and then asked them to come down to Jerusalem. We're dedicating a new baptismal font this week, so I want to tie in Transfiguration and Baptism. Hmmm. The connection for me is that we are called to each one-- we're invited by Jesus to be baptized, and we're invited to experience his glory, and we're invited, starting in a week or so, to journey on to Jerusalem. Invitation to Glory. or something like that.

  7. Not preaching this weekend, but when I had just arrived here I wrote a letter for the parish mag which went out around the Feast of the Transfiguration in August...It's so long, I'll post it over at my place (though nothing strikingly original, really)
    Hope the group goes sounds a wonderful idea, and what a blessing to have interested laity with whom to explore (though I guess I might panic that I'd have nothing fresh to say to them by Sunday!)
    Blessings x

  8. Rev Mom -- Hope you'll let us know how this group goes. I have done this and it's been enriching for all. Keep us informed about it.

  9. When I think about this text, it reminds me of the times I've had a spiritual peak experience and wanted to stay there, in that moment, instead of coming down from the mountain, so to speak, back to the everyday world. Which is what we're called to do, and what Jesus did.

    One of these "peaks" occurred shortly before I made the decision to enter into lay ministry training. And it was delightful; it was like falling in love. When the memory of that moment began to fade, I started to panic a little, and perhaps question its authenticity; but I wonder if God doesn't deliberately give us very short-term memories of our transcendant moments, so that we keep going; so that we don't stay stuck there.

  10. Like Sue, I am not preaching this weekend (will be at the same Presbytery meeting). BUt I think Peter's comment talks about the need to recognize that something special happened here. Some people build structures, some put a cairn, some build an elaborate story. But when something special happens we need to DO something. (It is my belief that this is also part of what brings many non-church folk asking for baptism after experiencing the Holy in the miracle of birth).

    And what is with all the German in the comments screen? Or is it just me?

  11. Reading, taking in.

    Then saying "HEY! Look at my blog please....and give me input on the "CAKE" query"

    Thanks to LC and Will sMama for the leading entries.

  12. I was thinking about the whole "How one gets up the mountain" question this morning on my commute. And it seems to me that these things are never planned. Case in point: I spent one of the worst weeks of my life at "the happiest place on earth." I wanted Mickey Mouse to give me a refund in the worst way!

    Our mountaintop experiences happen not at our willing, but through the Spirit's movement. Certainly we can place ourselves in more optimum settings, but you never know when you're going to find yourself invited up the mountain.

    Perhaps it is better to simply be prepared so that when the invitation comes, you're ready to enjoy it. And in the meantime, do what God has called you to here in the flatlands.

  13. so, hrod, would that have been a "Space Mountaintop Experience?"

  14. Becky- LOL for your comment. Maybe the first honest laugh I've had over that trip!

  15. Becky - I am sure you have thought of this already, but you mentioned linking Baptism and the Transfiguration so I thought I'd throw this out there.

    The liturgical season we are concluding this Sunday began with the baptism of Jesus. Both events have an epiphany, in one we are told that Jesus is God's beloved Son and in this Sunday's we are told to Listen to him.

    The two theophanies as brackets are something I've been playing with for this Sunday.

    God bless everyone as we work on presenting the Word of God to the people of God.

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  17. I loved Will smama's comment about the baptism and the transfiguration being an epiphany!

    I think we build monuments a) to help us remember that moment and b) because we don't want to take what we learnt from that moment back into the real world. That was Peter's fear I think. How could he explain this? Would it be robbed of him, or diluted in some way? Easier to stay there and celebrate, build a memorial, stay there polishing the silver.

    I'm sure he never really forgot that moment but he did waver at times and it's good (for us) that he did. It helps me realise that it's okay to struggle. You know what too, I probably act as sillying as Peter did...when I want to stay int he NOW which is good, rather than stepping out in obedience which I know will be hard.

    Thanks Cheesehead for provoking these thoughts and everyone for the comments. made me think - my own epiphany moment. Am I guilty of having made what I think is my calling to ministry - into a golden calf of somekind - or looking back at the calling - defining moment - sort of like the leeks and garlic of Egypt instead of being out there obeying and being the woman of God I'm called to be? right here and now. Ouch.

    hope next week is less painful - but I think being honest before God hurts. It's called transformation and I don't like it much :( but believe in it. Go figure.

    Be blessed :)

  18. I've posted my notes for those who procrastinate (uhm, like me.)


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