2 Kings 2:
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Six days later, Jesus....
Each of us has some kinds of rhythms in our life, even if they’re only the rhythms of our heartbeats and breaths. We are born and we live and we die. We wake and sleep. We prepare food and eat and clean up afterward. We go out and come back in. Surely you can find more rhythms and patterns in your life if you examine it.
The seven-day week is a strong rhythm for some of us: if we miss a beat— for example, sleeping through a day when we’re sick, or having a day off from work— we feel the change. Missing church because of weather is one such break in our rhythm: for some of us, if we don’t get to meet as the church at least once a week, we get discombobulated, and the rest of our schedule feels wrong, somehow. This need to maintain the rhythm of the seven days is one of the reasons we find it so hard to bring ourselves to cancel Sunday School and Worship and the other activities that go with church, when the weather is iffy.
Religious people often keep track of the rhythm of life by holy days. In the Christian faith, we have Christmas and Easter— the most famous of our holy days—, but some of us mark the flow of time by remembering other biblical and traditional holy days, too. For every Christmas, there are the weeks of Advent before it and the Epiphany season after. For every Easter, there are the weeks of Lent before it and the weeks till Ascension and Pentecost that follow.
I mostly follow a rhythm of Bible readings anchored in these holy days and seasons. Now we are at a turning point in the sacred calendar, a moment when we move from the Epiphany season that follows Christmas into the beginning of Lent which leads on to Easter and beyond.
This past Sunday, if we had met for worship, I would have given you a sermon based on Mark 1:29 – 39, called “rhythms and rules of the Jesus way.” (I haven’t decided yet, whether to use parts of it whenever we meet again— you may yet hear some of it). The basic idea of this sermon is that we show ourselves to be followers of Jesus by imitating his pattern of life and ministry: sometimes we worship God among our neighbors; sometimes we fellowship with our neighbors, serving them using our God-given abilities and resources; and sometimes we get away from other people and just spend time in prayer and self-examination. If we leave out any of these “beats” of the Jesus-rhythm, our life becomes less like his. But if we “keep the beat” of the Jesus way, our rhythm synchronizes with God’s rhythm, into eternal life.
Some of you might think, “Well, we missed a Sunday, but we will just pick up where we left off, and go on.” Let me share with you, why I am not inclined to simply do that.
Easter falls on April Fools Day, April 1st, this year. That means that the six weeks of Lent begin from Ash Wednesday, February 14th (which also happens to be St. Valentine’s Day, this year). All of that means that this coming Sunday is the last Sunday of the Epiphany season, which ends on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras, Carnivale). So this Sunday is the last Sunday of the Epiphany season: Transfiguration Sunday, the day when we remember how Jesus went up a mountain with a few of his disciples and they saw him “shining in the light of his glory.” Before I enter Lent, which is a time of self-examination, repentance, and self-denial, I need to see the glorified Christ who will meet me by the empty tomb on Easter morning. Before I spend six weeks wrestling against my darkness, I need to get a good, wide-eyed look at that sight— of the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.... For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ Who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
-2 Corinthians 4:4, 6
Whether we gather together or stay home because of the weather, let’s share in the story of glory !
Please pray for your Bethel Deacons and Trustees and me, when we have to make challenging decisions when Winter weather falls on us.
Please pray for our church, that we will consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. –Hebrews 10:24-25