February 14, 2021

2 Kings 2:1-12
Mark 9:2-9

“Transfigure us, O Lord”

I haven’t often preached on the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountaintop. My first congregation in Saskatoon had a long-standing tradition of holding a special service about the ministry of Presbyterian World Service and Development on the Sunday before Lent each year. Then they would raise money for a PWS&D project as part of their Lenten discipline, and that worked well. But it meant that we always skipped the Transfiguration, so it’s only recently that I’ve had to grapple with this strange and wonderful story.

On this last Sunday of the Season of Epiphany, and the Sunday before we begin the Season of Lent, we hear one of the most spectacular epiphany stories. As you may know, “epiphany” means “showing forth” and this story “shows forth” and reveals Jesus as a prophet par excellence, and above all, as God’s Beloved Child.

The SALT Lectionary commentary helpfully describes the importance of the passage, making me wonder how we could skip over it for so many years. It explains that “The episode takes place at almost the exact midpoint of Mark’s Gospel, as well as its highest geographical elevation.

“In broad strokes, the first eight chapters … Read more »

June 30, 2019

2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Luke 9:51-62

“Our Inheritance”

What have you inherited from your parents or grandparents?

When I think about an inheritance, I first think of money – a bequest left in a will. When my grandfather died last year at the age of 102, I was pleased to see that he gave generously to the church and its mission (both before he died and in his planned giving). But he also included gifts for his children and grandchildren, and each of us will have a little more security and confidence in the future because of that inheritance that we received.

But we often inherit much more than money, or other things besides money. Perhaps some of you inherited something like a house or a car or a cabin when one of your relatives died. And there may be smaller things too, sometimes with less monetary value but more sentimental value. Maybe you inherited a piece of furniture, a set of teacups, or a special piece of artwork. Maybe you inherited all your grandmother’s photo albums or your uncle’s research about your family history.

Through these kinds of inheritances, our loved ones live on in a way. We think about their lives … Read more »

June 30, 2013

2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Luke 9:51-62

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”

Singing:
I looked over Jordan, and what did I see, Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me, Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot, Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot, Coming for to carry me home.

I’m sometimes up and sometimes down, Coming for to carry me home,
But still my soul feels heavenly bound, Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot, Coming for to carry me home,
Swing low, sweet chariot, Coming for to carry me home.

“Swing low, sweet chariot” is a historic American Negro spiritual. It was written by Wallis Willis who lived in Oklahoma sometime before 1862. He was inspired by the Red River, which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the prophet Elijah’s being taken up into heaven by a fiery chariot. Many sources claim that this song, more than just being a reflection on Elijah’s story, and more than just being a hopeful song about going to heaven, was actually also referring to the Underground Railroad, the resistance movement that helped slaves escape from the South to the North and Canada.

Listen to the words of the … Read more »