The Transfiguration of the Lord

Week of August 6, 2017

In the Gospel from St. Mathew we are told of how Jesus picked Peter, James and John to follow Him further up the mount where a great revelation would be experienced.  God took them further to prepare them to see something quite unbelievable.  For me the real response comes from Peter when he said, “It is good for us to be here”.  That response to the invitation to go further speaks to a great philosophy in life.  If we can say, “It is good for us to be here”, we can be open to the great revelations of God.

I have always been a seeker of witnessing great events.  Every baseball game I attend, I sit at the edge of my seat hoping to see a no hitter.  Until the first hit is registered on each side, I wonder if this may be the day.  I can remember being in Ogden, Utah with my folks and we went to see a minor league game.  It was a great night for baseball and we watched a base runner steal home.  The umpire sent him back because of batter interference.  On the very next pitch he stole home again.  What a great experience.  My mom loved every second of it.  She absorbed the magnitude of how difficult that is and to see it twice on a cool evening in Ogden, Utah made her day.  I learned from that.  I love being open with anticipation for something great to happen.  From seeing an eagle on the Fox River, to listening to the cardinal sing every morning by the deck at the rectory, there are great things to experience.  In the same way, God has great things to reveal to us each day.  It is good for us to be here because it gives us another opportunity to be connected to God who loves to reveal His love and forgiveness. He loves to inspire us through His forgiveness.  It is good for us to be here.

One of the greatest experiences of my life has been traveling to Israel.  I love the reality of being in the same places as the historical Jesus.  I can remember celebrating Eucharist at 5:30 a.m. with just my parents in the Tomb of the Resurrection.  We left the hotel in pitch dark, walked through the streets of the Old City in pitch darkness and then a little religious sister was waiting at the door to tell us to line up at the entrance to the sacristy for the opportunity to celebrate; just the three of us, in the Tomb of the Resurrection.  In the quiet, in that place, surrounded by tradition, Jesus manifested Himself in the Breaking of the Bread in the Eucharist.  It was a special celebration.

Every time we walk into St. Anne, potential for spiritual awakening and potential to listen clearly to the words of our Savior who died on the cross is offered to us as a gift.  It is good for us to be here.  It is good to sing songs to our God who creatively longs to reveal His love.  It is good to sit and listen to the Scriptures, the words of God and salvation history.  It is good for us to pray as a community as we recall the Last Supper and the new and eternal covenant revealed.  It is good for us to come before the Body and Blood of Christ and say “Amen”.  It is good for us to hear the final blessing and be commissioned to go out into the world and reveal to others God’s word.

It is good for us to be here…I am thrilled to see all of you and it feeds my soul to see your openness to God.

Reverend John J. Ouper