NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR “LOW SUNDAY,” 4-23-2017

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end results of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (I Peter 1:8-9)

This week, the Sunday after Easter is known as “Low Sunday.” That’s because this Sunday’s church attendance happens to be one of the lowest of the year. It seems that after attending “A Celebration of the Resurrection” on Easter Sunday, an awful lot of folks choose to opt out of attending worship the following Sunday. It’s almost as if many take the attitude that after 40 days of Lent, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, they need a church break. I wonder how many blessings are missed because of such thinking. I must admit that I, myself, had originally thought of taking some time off this week but decided against it. As a result, I accepted a counseling appointment on Thursday morning with a young man. That encounter became a divine appointment for him and me. We were both incredibly blessed. We ended our time together with me praying with him. We held hands and as tears rolled from his eyes down his cheeks onto his pants, I felt so blessed and honored to lead this young man into a prayer where he opened his heart to walk in fellowship with Christ. This moment had been made possible because of his openness to me working with him through some problem solving steps aimed at hopefully addressing some serious issues in his life.

It was an encounter that brought me an inexpressible and glorious joy. You see, some real blessings just might be waiting for you also this week after Easter and on Low Sunday.

So, I invite you to join us at Covenant for worship this Sunday after Easter. I will be preaching a sermon titled “An Inexpressible and Glorious Joy,” based on “I Peter 1:3-9.” Afterwards, join us for cake and punch in the Fellowship Hall as we celebrate those born in April.

NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR, FEBRUARY 26, 2017 “TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY”

This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday. Every year just before the beginning of Lent, the church goes mountain climbing. We spiritually, as Peter, James and John physically did, follow Jesus up the Mount of Transfiguration. Up there we get to see Jesus as He really is as the brightness of God’s glory shines on Him and through Him. The event of course is “The Transfiguration of Jesus,” that signals the end of the season of Epiphany.

Epiphany Ends as it began with a bright light shining. Jesus, the Day Star, the bright and morning star, shines on the Mount of Transfiguration just as the light from heaven shone above His cradle in Bethlehem 30 years or so earlier.

        But why do we all these years later, still spiritually climb this mountain to see this light? Why do we take valuable time out of our busy lives and devote ourselves to climbing the mountain where God’s glory is revealed? Aren’t there hungry folks to be fed? Aren’t there jobs to be done? Aren’t there bills to be paid? Aren’t there children to be fed and clothed? Aren’t there sick to be healed? Aren’t there those grieving that need to be consoled? The answer to all these questions is yes! So, why did Jesus take this time away from His mission? And why do we do it each year right before Lent begins?

Jesus was preparing Himself for the long journey to another mountain. Jesus knew that ahead of Him was the long walk to the cross. And Jesus took this time to focus Himself on the journey that lay ahead of Him.

Mark Twain once said, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” We get so caught up with the living of our daily lives that our spiritual imagination often gets out of focus. So, we go mountain climbing each year at the end of Epiphany to spiritually prepare ourselves for the discipline walk of faith and devotion through Lent. It is our way of taking strength from Christ’s strength, as we prepare to walk our Lenten journey. With this, we remember that “Our Need for Transfiguration” is why the glory of God calls us to go this mountain climbing trip.

Join us at Covenant this week as we observe “Transfiguration Sunday,” followed by our February Birthday reception. Then join us again for our “Ash Wednesday” services with communion and the imposition of Ashes.

This week my sermon is “Our Need for Transfiguration” based on “II Peter 1:16-21” and “Matthew 17:1-9.”