Monday, March 28, 2011

The Spiritual Connection

What a wonderfully beautiful story we hear this morning from John’s Gospel.
It is a story of God’s love and grace.
A story about a woman tired, dried up, and all used up by life.
Who comes to a well to do something very simple.
She comes to get water in the heat of the new day sun.
There she has a chance encounter that will forever change her life.
She encounters Jesus who offers her more than mere water but living water.
It has always been our assumption that this is a sinful woman whose life is changed because of this encounter with Jesus.
It is true that her life is changed, but not from sin.
But what struck me about the story is that Jesus never condemns her.
Jesus never mentions the word sin, never gives her a lecture about the proper sexual ethics for women.
Jesus simply sees this woman.
Jesus sees her life with all of its complexity and duality.
Jesus sees that she is dried up and used up from life.
The text never actually tells us that she has done anything wrong.
We just assume it.
Truth is that all those husbands could not be her fault.
It is the men in that society who have the ability to divorce.
The man she lives with now could be a brother of a dead husband as the law prescribes.
Jesus in looking at this woman does not see a sinner, but sees someone in need of more.
Jesus does not see a Samaritan woman, but a person.
Jesus does not see a woman, but someone used up by life, a person alone and not connected to her community.
Jesus crosses all sorts of boundaries in this story that have been set up by society, and in so doing connects with her on a deep spiritual level.

Lots of times we make every Bible story about sin and redemption.
Instead of seeing it for what it is an invitation by God for connection.
That is what we all really desire to connect with others and share our lives.
The woman gets it.
“He told me everything I have ever done.”
Jesus connects with her life and really sees her.
Her level of belief is bigger than that of the Nicodemus from last week.
Even though Nicodemus is a religious leader he cannot see the need for more.
Nicodemus gets caught up in the physical world and cannot see the world through God’s eyes.
Like all the Gospels it is the people who are left out, dried up, and used up that are most ready and willing to see God.
The woman in this morning’s Gospel is seen by Jesus and she is connected to him and very real way.
She is so overcome that she leaves her water pitcher behind, because she sees that Jesus is the real water that gives life.

Our own lives often can feel like this woman’s.
We can be dried up and tired from all the things life has brought us.
Some of those might be our fault and some might not.
Either way Jesus comes not to scold us, but to see us.
Jesus comes to love and care for us, and show us how much God really cares about us.

I believe that this changes us.
Just like the woman at the well is changed forever because Jesus sees her and offers her true life our encounters with Jesus are powerful reminders that God is about changing lives.
Our encounters with Jesus are about God connecting with us and giving us true water that does not dry up.
We all need this water, because life is always trying to dry us up.
There is always some message out there that tells us we are not good enough and we don’t measure up.

In 1950 they asked high school students if they thought they were special and only 12% said that they were.
In 1990’s they asked high school students the same question and 80% said that they were special.
Some people believe this is a bad thing.
That we have watered down what it means to be special.
I wish every kid in high school saw themselves as special, because God sees each of them as special.
Our problems come from fear of not being loved.
Brene Brown a researcher who studied what makes people do things like become addicted to drugs, over spend, and have a narrow world view, says that it is our inability to connect with others that drives us to these things.
That connection is what gives life meaning.
When we are able to connect we are willing to risk making ourselves vulnerable.
We are willing to admit that we are not perfect and neither is the world.
She said that we should not be telling our kids they are perfect, but instead loving them through their imperfection.
This is what I believe God can do for all of us.
This is what Jesus did for the woman at the well.

Jesus connects with her.
Jesus offers a connection to God.
This is what Jesus does for all of us, is connect our lives to God.
Jesus gives us a new identity where we are able to see ourselves and live with who we are.
Not tell us how perfect we are, but help us live with our imperfections.
Help us take a risk and connect with others around us.
At the end of our story what gives it the happy ending is that the woman is able to be a respected member of the community.
It took some risk for her to run back and tell people what Jesus had done for her, but that is what makes her able to connect with others.
And our lives are better when we are connected.

When we are connected to Jesus, and to one another, we are able to have this spiritual well of joy, forgiveness, hope, and love.
That is the real water that does not run out.

This week I did a funeral for a family who are not members of our congregation.
They were your average family filled with love, joy, and brokenness.
Their mother was the one who connected everyone in the family together.
I told them that their mother was not dead but lived in eternity with Jesus.
And that the love they shared with their mother also lived on for eternity.
This is real connection, and when we find it we are changed forever.

We are given a new identity that surpasses whatever labels others want to give us.
And we are brought to the new reality that is about being authentically human.
We can then live with our failures and brokenness.
We can then live without shame or fear and embrace our need to connect and be seen.

Today Jesus comes and sees us for who we are.
And then offers us real living water that flows from God’s grace.
I know that there are many times in my life when I feel like the world is against me.
There have been many times when I felt shame because of my sins.
When I feel let down because things are not working the way I want them to.
There have been times in my life when I did not feel connected to others around me.
I think about Jesus and how my life is always connected to his.
And I realize that I have many blessings, I have much joy, and there is always hope.

I know that Jesus is there for all of you too that when life is getting you down that Jesus is there to lift you up.
Jesus gives the true water that does not run out, but quenches our thirst for connection and love.
Jesus sees all of you, and knows you, let that be your connection that gives you life.

The woman at the well is given her connection to a new identity, to a new life with real living water.
She sees Jesus because he sees her and shows her God’s love.
When we feel dried up and used by life let us see Jesus in our lives and receive the water that does not run out, but that leads to eternal life filled with love and connection.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pulled Into the Light

Our Youth Group had a 30 hour famine from Friday to Saturday. 12 Youth participated and learned about hunger and the poor.

This morning we hear two stories of faith.
One of Abram being called away from his home into the future that God has promised.
The other of Nicodemus who comes to Jesus searching for answers, for something more, and for what God has in store.
Neither man knows the outcome, or is sure as to why God is moving in a certain direction in their lives.
Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, by the cover of darkness.
It is significant in John’s Gospel because everything is moving towards the light.
Everything is moving towards Jesus as the one who shines light into the darkness of the world.
But Nicodemus is not sure, he has questions he needs answers.
But Nicodemus comes anyway.
And his questions are not answered in the way he would have expected.
A lot of times we are like Nicodemus.
We are in the dark, wondering, searching for something.
We have questions about our faith.
We have questions about the power of that faith to change lives and about God’s power to work in our lives.

Lately we all have had many reasons to ask questions and wonder.
I was at the hospital this week and I was on the elevator.
A woman was riding with me and she sad, “Some earthquake in Japan…how about what is going on in Libya? My grandmother told me this is all in the Bible and everything is going to end!”
Not enough time on an elevator ride to get into it all, but my basic response was, “I believe it will all be all right…it is in God’s hands.”
In many ways this answer seems too easy.
However, as a person of faith it is the right answer.
Abraham didn’t know what the future held, but he placed that future into God’s hands.
Abraham believed that God cared and loved him and had some greater thing in store then he could imagine.

We too have to believe that the God who loved this world enough to send his only son for us will not let our lives go to ruin.
That God has a greater idea of what we need then we even know or imagine.
God is bigger than a tsunami, or the latest war, God is bigger than whatever situation we find ourselves in today.
I place my life in the hands of the God who has spent time building a relationship with me, God who has loved me all my life.

It is why things like the 30 hour famine are so important for our youth.
It gives them time to wrestle with some of the harder questions of life.
Why do some people have more than others?
Why would God allow people in the world to starve?
What does this mean to me and my faith?
The 30 hour famine was about making our way through the dark into the light.
From despair to hope.
From ignorance to understanding.
From resentment to mercy.

It is important to understand that the world is not always fair, and things don’t always have a happy ending, and not every problem is solved in an hour.
But it takes time and understanding.
The truth is that Nicodemus maybe still did not understand what Jesus was trying to tell him.
The power of Jesus’ statement is only understood after he gives his life for our sin and new life.
It maybe took more for Nicodemus to find his way out of the darkness into the light.
And for most of us, well I will just speak for myself, it takes time lots of time to work our way out of the darkness.
It takes a lifetime to be able to see that it is all in God’s hands, and that our job is to follow faithfully.
It takes a lifetime to understand the depths of God’s love for the world.
And that relationship is what protects us from giving up when something bad happens in our life.

Some people see an earthquake and people dying and think that it is proof that God either does not care, or that there is no God.
How could God allow such a thing to happen?
These are questions we ask in as we grope around in the dark trying to understand.
When we see the light of Jesus shining then we see things through faith.
We see things from above, and from God’s understanding.
We see that God loves this world that God wants to save us from ourselves.
Then the question becomes how can I help?
What can I do?

Seeing things from a worldly perceptive everything seems so dark, so lost.
That is exactly where God meets us in the dark, and brings us to the light.
It is where Jesus met Nicodemus.
Because Jesus wanted to help Nicodemus come to the light.
Faith in God brings us from the darkness to the light.
Perhaps St. Patrick whose day we celebrated this week said it best. "Whatever will come my way, whether good or bad, may I accept it calmly, and always give thanks to God, who has ever shown me how I should believe in God, unfailing and without end." St. Patrick

This morning all of us have come here with questions.
We are all wondering what God has in store for us, for our families, for our community, and for our world.
Here is the right place to ask the question, and grope in the dark for the light.
Because here we will see the light.
We will hear Jesus tell us that, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him shall not die but have eternal life.”
Here this morning Jesus will call you out of yourself to see others in the world suffering.
Jesus will call you from this earthly place to the eternal place.
Here Jesus will draw you from death to life, from despair into hope, from the darkness into the light.

This morning as we heard our young people share of their experience how can we not be moved to believe in God’s future?
12 young people gave up a Friday and Saturday to not eat, to raise money for the poor, and to be together.
Twelve young people were willing to search in the dark and to see the light.
What will be the thing that Jesus will do for you?

This week as you go about your life and grope in the dark for faith know that Jesus is there to pull you into the light.
Jesus is pulling you into the light so that you will see the love of God, your salvation, and the bright future that awaits you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

No Short Cuts

This week began the budget hearing at the state house.
Ahead of these hearing the NH council of churches sent out a letter to different elected officials asking them to reconsider some of the cuts they are proposing especially the cuts to the poor, handicapped, and elderly.
Since I represent the Lutherans on the NH Council of Churches I received a copy of one of the letters we got back in response to our letter.
Stella Tremblay a representative from Rockingham district 3 wrote a lengthy and inflammatory response to our letter.
I do not have time to read the entire letter but her opening couple of sentences was this, “I am absolutely astounded how “social justice” has crept into the NH Churches. A concept that was introduced by a communist/socialist ideology.”
The letter goes on to say that the poor are simply breaking the 9th commandment by coveting what the rich have.
My first response was going to be to write a very…well clear letter about how much I disagree with her ideology, theology, and Biblical interpretation.
However, I decided that such a letter would not really help the matter in fact it might make things worse by entrenching both of us in our own positions.
A letter would have been satisfying but it would have also been inflammatory and it would have been a short cut to the hard work that lies ahead of us as we try and come up with a budget that is just and responsible.

This morning we see Jesus involved in a similar struggle against the devil.
Jesus is being tempted by the devil to take a short cut.
In order to accomplish his mission all Jesus needs to do is turn stones to bread, be serviced by angels, and bow down before Satan.
In order to entice Jesus into doing these things the devil quotes scripture, offers ideological sounds bites, and theological twists.
What can we learn from this encounter that Jesus has with the devil?

One lesson is that we cannot skip the hard parts of life.
There is no magic wand to fix what is going on around us.
I saw that this week when I went to the hearings on the budget at the capital this week.
Our elected officials are in a hard spot.
They have to either cut services or raise taxes.
I really did feel for them.
Because none of those options seems very appealing.
One thing was clear from the time I spent listening to people against the proposed budget cuts, both from the Governor and the House of Representatives, we are going to cut services for the most vulnerable.
The blind, crippled, handicapped, the addicted, home bound, homeless, and seniors.
All of these groups were represented in some way by the people giving testimony.
We heard one heart wrenching story after another.
In the face of such hard decisions I think it is too easy to merely spout political ideology.
Because it goes around the fact that these cuts will hurt real people.
It is too easy to simply say, “It is not the role of government to take monies from those that work and give to those who cannot or will not.” (as Rep. Stella Tremblay stated in her letter.)
It is too easy to say that because she is not the pastor who has a line outside the door with people who are hurting.
I hear the stories.
I see the desperation on the faces of people struggling to make a go of it.
It would be easy for me to suggest that all they need to do is find a job.
I got a job, I got a house.

Jesus in his temptation finds out this same truth.
There is no ideology/theology except that of really living.
Jesus does not accept the devil’s deals because he knows that he is called to a life of service to others and trust in God.
He is not here to rule over the world, but rather to love the world and the people that are in it.
He is not here to do magic tricks that show us how to avoid real problems, but rather to touch the people with those problems.
All of Jesus healings are about him touching something that someone else said was unclean.
He is not here as some social fixer of poverty, but to live with those that suffers from hunger, and to be one of them.
Jesus refuses the short cut; instead he takes the hard road of self sacrifice and ultimately the cross.

I have come to believe that political rhetoric and ideology are really just short cuts to the hard problems we actually face.
Easy to say this is the problem it is a lot harder to be living in the problem and with problem.
Easy to say that we need to feed the poor a lot harder to live with the poor, and help them on a daily basis.

What I have discovered is that the poor are like everyone else.
Sometimes they are liars, so is everyone else.
Sometimes they are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they need in life, so is everyone else.
Sometimes the poor are generous and loving, so is everyone else.
Sometimes they teach us about God, so does everyone else.
Sometimes they take the short cut instead of doing the hard thing, so does everyone else.

That is sometimes our problem we take the short cut.
We call names instead of trying to understand what the other person is saying.
We quote scripture instead of trying to see God through someone else’s eyes.
We throw away people instead of offering forgiveness.
We grab for power instead of reaching out in love.
But all is not lost because we have Jesus Christ in our lives.
Jesus who teaches us the real way to life is through services, through the cross, through living more fully into our humanity.

And this is what amazes me about so many people in churches I have been blessed to be a part of that so many people are willing to go out of their way to help.
People are willing to put aside their personal needs in order to meet the needs of others.
It amazes me when people are willing to listen, to comfort, and to befriend.
It amazes me when people show up time and again not because it is convenient or easy, but because they believe in love, forgiveness, and charity.

Perhaps the best example of this is the earthquake/Tsunami in Japan.
There is no easy way out of such a tragedy.
There is no political ideology that will solve it.
There is no theology that will explain it.
There is only living through it.
There is only banning together and beginning step by step to clean up and heal the wounds.
There is only gathering by the graves to cry and commend our loved ones to God.
There are no short cuts in life, only the real experience of living.
There is only living in a life with all the complexities of sin and redemption, of brokenness and grace, of life and loss, of rich and poor.

So today I can say that I do feel for Representative Stella Tremblay because she is in a very tough position.
I pray that she will have compassion on those whose lives will be forever changed by the decisions she makes as an elected leader in our state.
I pray for those who are less fortunate, the blind, lame, mentally handicapped, and homeless.
Their lives because of these cuts will be harder.
I pray this day that our country will become more compassionate.

Most of all I want to encourage all of us not to take the short cut.
Not to rely on ideology, theology, or even clever quotes from the Bible.
Instead follow Jesus.
Follow him into the wilderness, and into the conflict of human life.
On the Sundays of lent Jesus will have encounters with a Pharisee, a woman of ill-repute at a well, heal a man born blind, weep over the death of his friend, and face his own death at Golgotha.
In each case through these encounters Jesus will change lives.
Not by easy answers, but because he entered into the hard parts of people’s lives.
Jesus today is in the hard part of your lives.
Jesus is in the struggle of whatever you might be facing.
Jesus does not offer us slogans and bumper stickers instead he enters a real life, with real conflict, and real people with real problems.

So this lent let us follow Jesus as he gives up his life so that we can see the glory of God in all the complexity and relationships of our lives.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Now Is The Acceptable Time

I had a friend posted the following thing on her Facebook wall.
What a long of my best friends layed her mom to rest today, makes me appreciate every day with my own mom even more than I already do!!!! Not only are me and my sisters so lucky to have are all her lovely grandcherubs! We love you!!!!
Ash Wednesday is about recognizing this truth that came to my friend.
Life is short, and so we better give thanks for it and use it.
Time this side of heaven is not forever.
Tonight we gather and we have ashes put on our head and we are told, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”.
We are reminded that life is mortal, life is short.
Our time here on this earth will not be forever.
This is hard for people like me because I am a great procrastinator.
I get things done, but usually not until the last minute.
Not until I absolutely have to.
My motto seems to be, “Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow?”
I have thought that I have gotten so good at it that I should put procrastination on my resume as a skill.
Not only this, but I am reminded of all the things in life that need to be done.
And yet there is never enough time to do them all.
There are people to save, groceries to buy, kids to feed, causes to speak out for, new things to learn, music to listen to, books to read…
And yet here I am wasting time watching to see what crazy thing Charlie Sheen will say next.
When, I wonder, will I get myself together?
When will I do all the things that I should be doing?
St. Paul reminds us that “Now is the acceptable time…Now is the day of salvation.”
Lent is that reminder that now is the time for us to get ourselves together, because there is limited time.
But we are all so busy.
We are running around doing all the things that life demands.
But tonight we are not given another task.
Rather we are given a chance to set things right.
Tonight we are given the gift of being able to turn from our selfish ways and to remember God.
What we are given in lent is not so much direction but grace.
We are given the gift to reorient our lives to God.

We are given the gift to be reminded that the God of grace has called us to something more.
The God who saves us from becoming mere dust is the God who gives us more time, more life, and more love.
God has given us this time.
And with this time we have the ability to choose God.
But what Paul tells us is that it is not going to be easy.
Choices never are.
We might have to give something up.
We might have to let go of control.
And that is what the struggle is really about.
Who is in control of our lives?
Is it us in control who are really only dust?
Or is it God who makes us more than dust?

St. Paul, through faith, knew that our lives are more than dust.
This is why Paul could look at the things that had happened to him and see not what humans see but what God saw.
“We are treated as imposters, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known, as dying, and see-we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making everything rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
And lent gives us the opportunity to see us and the world through God’s eyes.

You might be sick; you might be despised, you might be rejected by some, and you might be dust.
But in God’s eyes you are much more than that.
In this community of faith you are much more than that.
In this community we are all heirs of God’s wonderful promises.
And tonight we hear the words of our mortality and we are reminded of a far greater truth that with God we are more than mere dust.
We are not really dying, but living.
We are not unknown because with God every part of our being is known.

That is really our problem we are afraid of becoming nothing, of becoming unimportant, or left out.
Most of our actions are to avoid this problem.
This is what Jesus is talking about in our Gospel reading for tonight.
It is unnecessary to try and be the most impressive prayer, faster, or alms giver God already knows what you are and what you do.
God already sees you as beautiful and wonderful so why try and prove it before others.
You don’t need all those treasures on earth because God has promised to prepare for you greater treasures in heaven.

In our trying to avoid becoming dust we cause lots of problems in our lives.
We don’t want to be nothing so we try to accumulate things to show that we are something.
We don’t want to seem unimportant so we say, “Look at me and all the Facebook friends I have, or how many texts messages I get”.
We don’t want to look like bad people so we say, “Look at me I go to church every week aren’t I better then all those other people”.
We want to be noticed so we say. “Look at me I pray, fast, and give money to the poor I am really holy”141.
We don’t want to be old so we try and make ourselves younger more attractive.
We don’t want to be alone so we choice the wrong people to be with.
We don’t want to die so we pretend that we will live forever.

With God life is so much better because we don’t have to pretend anymore.
We can tell the truth, “We are dust and to dust we shall return”.
We will die and so today we will live like there is no tomorrow.
Today will be the day.
Today will be the day I tell my mother I love her.
Today will be the day I tell my wife she is the most important thing to me.
Today will be the day I will give of my life for someone else.
Today is the acceptable day!
Today is the day I will turn and see the grace and beauty of God in and through all things.
And every day of this mortal life I will give thanks to God for my blessings, and I will share them with others.
“Today is the acceptable day….Today is the day of my salvation.”
Thanks be to God for this day, and the grace to be and do more!

Monday, March 7, 2011


This past week as most of you know I was on vacation with my family.
It was my favorite kind of vacation.
We basically drove around and visited family, and old friends.
It started with the baptism of my new nephew in Allentown, PA.
Along the way I got to visit friends from college, and seminary.
We ended our trip by visiting with our neighbor from Valley Stream, NY and as a bonus we ran into some parishioners from our last congregation.
Our trip was filled with old memories, but also with a sense of change.
One of my friends has died and we visited with his wife and heard about how she was adjusting to a new life without her husband.
Another one of my friends just took a new call and his family was adjusting to a new church and new community.
One of my friend’s wives was in the middle of getting her degree to be a teacher.
Because today was going to be transfiguration Sunday it got me thinking about all the transitions we go through in life.
How we grow and change with each step in our journey.
Today is Transfiguration Sunday and it is really a transition liturgically, theologically, and Biblically.
It is a transition from the season of Epiphany to Lent.
It is a transition from the light and glow of Jesus teaching into looking at our inner spiritual wellness.
Biblically our Gospel reading for this morning is also a transition.
In Matthew’s Gospel (as with Luke and Mark) the transfiguration is really a transition in Jesus ministry from healer and teacher to messiah and savior.
It is here that Jesus begins his Journey to Jerusalem and to the cross.
This is fitting because we will be on that same journey until Good Friday.
So today is a transition.
But there are so many transitions in our lives.

Being born, getting baptized, learning to walk, losing a tooth,
going to school, learning to read,
falling in love, breaking up, learning to drive, graduations,
falling in love again, getting married, our first job, our last job, raising children,
retiring, getting old, getting sick,
feeling mortal, and dying.
I am aware that today many of you are facing some pretty big transitions in your lives.
Many of you are facing the death of someone you love, children growing older, children being born, new jobs, illness.
More than this there is the internal spiritual transition that we face.
These are even more dramatic.
Realizing God’s amazing love and grace changes our lives in ways that we could never imagine.

How can the story of Jesus transfiguration help us in our transitions?
We should not be scared off by the big word transfiguration.
In fact, the better word that fits closer with the Greek should really be transformed.
The text this morning should read “For they saw him transformed before them.”
It is the same word that Paul uses in Romans to talk about what happens to us spiritually when we have Jesus in our lives, Paul says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”
What is really happening to Jesus is a transformation.
In this transition moment Jesus is transformed before his disciples into God’s beloved son.
We too are transformed all the time.
The transitions that we go through are not bad they are opportunities to grow to be transformed into children of God.

Transitions are holy moments when we can pause and take stock of our lives.
Look at where we are going, what we have been, and who we will be.
Think of a baby at her baptism.
It is a moment of being drowned to the old and rising as a child of God.
Think of a teenager graduating high school.
It is a leaving of what was and stepping out into a bright new future.
Whoever you were in high school does not matter, only what you will be in the next phase of life.
A college graduate has the opportunity to choose from an infinite amount of options.
A new parent learns about strength and commitment on a level that no one thought was possible.
A parent of teenagers learns to trust God in a whole new way.
Someone in a nursing home learns to let others help even when they want to do it all themselves.
Finally, death is not an end it is merely the transition into a whole new more glorious life.
We are transformed from this mortal body into immortality, from the perishable life into the imperishable.
Transitions are moments when we are transformed into something totally different.

Of course transitions are also scary.
This is why we might be able to so easily identify with the disciples in this morning’s Gospel.
They don’t fully understand what is happening.
They see Jesus change, they see Moses and Elijah.
But they don’t get it.
They are scared and confused.
And for many of us moments of transition feel this way.
The best thing we can come up with is make a monument to the past.
Try and keep everything up on the mountain.
Try and keep everything the way it was, not the way God is transforming it to be.

On my trip as I visited with people who have been important parts of my life I became really thankful for each one of them, because of them I am the person I am today.
Because of them I was transformed.
I was also aware that in each case I was glad that I moved on, I was thankful for the transition itself.
I am glad for the time I spent in college, but I am grateful that I did not stay in that spot.
I am glad for the time I spent in seminary; they are some of the best years of my life.
I have memories of seminary I will treasure forever, friendships that will always be close to my heart, but I am glad that I moved on to be a pastor and preach the Gospel.
I am ever grateful for the people of New Hope Lutheran Church in Valley Stream.
That place and those people helped to form me as a pastor.
They loved me more than I deserved.
But I am glad that we moved on.
I have grown in new ways by being your pastor.
And when our time together is through I will be thankful for our time together, but I will also rejoice in the next transition, and look forward to the next transformation of my life.

What about you?
What are the transitions in your life that you are thankful for today?
In what ways did those transitions transform your life?
What was God doing in those transitions?
Perhaps today you have come here burdened or worried about a transition in your life.
If that is true then go with Jesus up to the mountain.
And see him transformed.
Listen to the voice from heaven that tells you, “This is my son, the beloved...listen to him.”
Because the best thing we can do in times of transitions is to listen to Jesus.
Hear Jesus tell us not to be afraid.
Hear Jesus tell us about God’s ever abiding spirit and love.
And then go out and shine.
Go out into your life and be transformed by Jesus’ words.
Live deeply into all of the transitions of life, love more, and most of all be thankful that God has transformed you.