Shirley Lamontagne, Director of Administrations
During the transfiguration of Jesus in the New Testament, a miracle occurs that transforms Jesus into bright rays of light. Next, a voice comes from a cloud and says “This is my beloved Son,” and this voice is believed to be God. I am inspired by this transfiguration miracle because it gives me hope for my life and our society.
The hope I’ve found in this story as it relates to me personally surrounds the fact that God never gives up on me no matter how many times I stumble or struggle to hear God’s message. Hearing God’s message is an age old struggle that dates back to the beginning and still continues today. There are many accounts of the Pharisees and the even the disciples doubting Jesus and doubting the plan that God has orchestrated for humanity. However, the key for me is not to let me my doubts overshadow my hope. Every week as I enter the doors of our church my hope is strengthened as I experience the love that we have for each other.
The second part of this transfiguration story that gives me hope is the fact that human nature meets its Creator. Humanity witnesses God performing a miracle for Jesus, instead of Jesus performing the miracle. In my opinion, God choosing to interact directly with humanity is the ultimate act of love. Allowing humanity to see the Divinity of Jesus shine through his human body illustrates how much God loves us. God wants us to internalize the message that love is universal.
The question becomes where to go from here with a better understanding that God is truly part of humanity and not a separate Deity to be revered from afar. Knowing that God is in each of us gives me the inspiration to stop waiting around for a miracle to happen to me and instead to seize every opportunity I get to help create miracles for God, for our church, and for our community. I hope you will join me in the transformational work God does through us!
Elizabeth Ford, Director of Children’s Minstries
Last week, I threw a coin in a wishing well in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I know you’re supposed to keep wishes a secret, but in this case, I have to share. When you are living a miracle, what are you supposed to wish for? As I clutched that coin, I didn’t have any wishes to make. I bundled up the overwhelming emotions of gratitude I was feeling and shared them with all the wishes in that well.
In case you have recently relocated from a home under a rock, let me inform you that Kyle and I are just getting back from an amazing trip to New York City. Kyle entered a Facebook contest to win tickets to the 25th Anniversary Broadway performance of “The Phantom of the Opera.” I don’t think I exaggerate when I say that it was nothing short of a miracle when he called me to announce that his name had been chosen. The next few weeks were a whirlwind! We had tickets to purchase, money to save and many, many hours to plan. What was the end result? I got a front row seat…not to Phantom…but a front row seat to watching a friend’s dreams come true.
Have you ever had an experience in life where you are confident you’re in God’s hands? As I look back, it is clear to me that is exactly where we were. We had an incredibly generous friend to stay with right in heart of the city! We navigated easily throughout our trip. Time seemed to stop as we visited several attractions. We even had good cab drivers who knew how to navigate the streets without terrifying us! We also had dear friends who helped us get to the airport and home again.
With all these good things unfolding before our eyes, I truly could not feel anything but a deep and sincere gratitude. My instinct is to try to explain this miracle away. Maybe we received this opportunity because one of us did something particularly good. (A parent at my school said it was God’s way of thanking me for the joy I bring to her son’s life.) Maybe we just needed this trip to get a burst of inspiration for “In Remembrance.” Maybe we won’t understand God’s reasons until Kyle’s first show opens on Broadway. In any case, I am going to stop trying to rationalize it and just celebrate what we were given.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into God’s presence with singing! —Psalm 100:1-3
Denise Foerch, Spiritual Director
This week as I spent time reading our text for today, I wondered about those who gave excuses for not coming to the feast. I thought about reasons why they would feel it was ok to make an excuse. It could have been that they felt that their presence wouldn’t matter – they probably wouldn’t be missed, since there were going to be so many guests. Or maybe they heard there were going to be a certain kind of people there, and they didn’t believe those people should have been invited. Or perhaps their sense of self-importance made it ok to say ‘No’ at the last minute.
While doing this pondering, a song kept running through my head. It’s usually used for Communion, but there were parts of it that really fit this situation. The song was written by Nicole Nordeman. Take a moment to read the words. Do you see yourself?
Oh, the days when I drew lines around my faith
To keep you out, to keep me in, to keep it safe
And oh, the sense of my own self entitlement
To say who’s wrong or won’t belong or cannot stay
‘Cause somebody somewhere decided
We’d be better off divided
And somehow despite the damage done He says, ‘Come’
Oh the times when I have failed to recognize
How many chairs are gathered there around the feast
To break the bread and break these boundaries
That have kept us from our only common ground
The invitation to sit down if we will come
Come from the best of humanity
Come from the depths of depravity
Come now and see how we need
Every different bead on this same string
Come, there is room enough for all of us, please come
And the arms are open wide enough, please come
And our parts are never greater than the sum
This is the heart of the One Who stands before an open door and bids us come