Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for the Sunday Message for Worton UMC; Sunday, March 1, 2015

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Holy moments… All of us experience them at one time or another. When I was a student at Christiana Care taking my second unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, I experienced a holy moment talking with a patient.

That patient was dying. He was full of regrets. For whatever reason, he was alone in the world, his former wives, girlfriends, children and grandchildren did not want to have anything to do with him. He was alone and he was lonely.

I stood by his bed listening to him when something strange happened. Both of us felt it. The light in the room changed, it became warm, and it felt different. We felt the presence of God. The patient’s anxiety seemed to subside, a strange feeling of peace, warmth and comfort enveloped me. We did not want that moment to end.

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And at that moment – feeling God warming my very soul – I understood Peter’s comment, “Jesus, it is sooooo good for us to be here…” (Mark 9:5, aft paraphrase). We cannot “manufacture” those moments. They come to us by God’s grace.

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Transfiguration… Holy Moment… In order to understand what Transfiguration means in our lives, we need to continue reading the story that Mark tells us. In my Bible, the next story in the Gospel of Mark is the story titled Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy; it is found in Mark 9:14-29 and also Luke 9:37-43. I will use a reading from Luke because it is more concise.

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NIV Luke 9:37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” 41 “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

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I think that if a modern doctor saw this child, the diagnosis would be epilepsy. I am not challenging biblical language and I am not belittling first century medicine. The point that I am trying to make is that our language changes as our understanding expands. When we get stuck in first century language, it is difficult for us to understand what the biblical stories mean to us today.

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The historic event of the transfiguration invites us to become the carriers of God’s healing presence to the world. By telling the story of healing immediately following the story of transfiguration, Luke makes a point that our transformation, our connection with God is intended to bring wholeness and restoration to the world around us.

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Luke makes a point that holy moments lead to mission. Luke makes a point that the reason we experience holy moments in our lives is to give us the courage to be God’s ambassadors through our acts of mercy, kindness, and justice.

I learned from that patient (remember hospital – changed light – warmth) that having regrets at the end of our journey is painful. Given a second chance, this patient would live his life very differently. So how can we learn to live holy lives so that we limit our regrets at the end of our journey?

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{Transition to the Sacrament of the Holy Communion}

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