“How then shall we live?”
Scripture Reading: Psalm 1 & Matthew 17:1-9
These are challenging times for all of us. I offered a Peace Meditation last Sunday to the wider community, sensing that there is a lot of anger and anxiety building amongst us. Nine people participated, and my concerns were affirmed. Doing something about what is upsetting us is often helpful, and the group seemed to find that this indeed is so. Choices must be made, action must be taken. Peace and harmony need to be restored.
The psalmist offers two choices: we can follow the Law of God (God who is good, who is love), or we can walk in the way of the wicked. Happy are those who walk in the way of God, and lost are those who do not, the writer says.
Jesus actively and publicly chooses to follow the way of God. For our benefit, he puts himself close to God and is transfigured before witnesses in that place. Choosing to be one with God is a transforming experience. Jesus is enveloped in dazzling white light, so that his very person glows so brightly that his disciples are amazed, and when they hear a voice from the clouds saying: “This is my son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased,” when they hear this they are overcome.
Choosing to follow in the Way of Jesus, the Way of Love is what we in the United Church aspire to do. We deeply buy into the mission of Jesus to “bring good news to the poor…to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…” We care deeply about “feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.” Social justice issues are of primary importance to many of our members. We support the Food Banks ( and often initiate them), we fund raise for missions locally and overseas, we attempt to be welcoming to any and all people who come our way. What we maybe aren’t so good at is sharing the good news of the work of Jesus the Christ in terms of our own spiritual salvation or health or transfiguration.
Jesus showed us how to live by his own example: he healed the sick, he taught the spiritually blind to see, he spoke truth to power, and he suffered the consequences of resisting injustice.
Yes, we need to emulate the way he lived, but the spiritual rewards of following Jesus are so much greater for each of us personally, that out of gratitude for the happiness and joy we feel when we do, we need to try to share what we know with others. In this way our society will be transformed, we will be transformed, and God’s kindom will continue to grow on Earth.
What is not helpful right now is the feeling of separation that is being encouraged between Canadians of different ethnicity. We are all children of the Living God, and we all have opinions, needs and priorities. Some groups are more powerful than others, and this imbalance of power can be very divisive, and result in the perpetuation of injustice. As Christians it is part of our mission and mandate to speak truth to power and to try to heal the divisions and inequalities that have persisted for far too long in our country.
As Christians it is also part of our mission to care for generations to come, to be good stewards of the land, air and water for the benefit of all God’s children, and all of God’s Creation.
Let’s sing together “Many are the Lightbeams” as we remind ourselves that there is only one God, one Creator of all that is, and that the Light of this one God burns brightly in each of us who chooses to see.
Hymn #588VU “Many are the Lightbeams”
Prayers of the People:
Let us pray:
It is part of the rhythm of our congregation’s life, Loving God, to gather this time of year to take stock of how we have answered your call into the world – this world that you so love.
You call us to love one another as you have loved us.
You call us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves – even if that neighbour is a stranger to us, or just strange in our perception.
You call us to love our enemies and even those who persecute us – despite how painful that may become.
You call us to shepherd your good creation by paying attention to the intricacies, the interdependence, the interconnectedness, and the wonder of life in our loving.
You call us to your mission and your ministry in this place as people of faith.
May you bless what we do in our meeting today, as we come together as this community of faith.
Guide our deliberations, inform our debates, and affirm our discipleship, we pray. Journey with us in all we express and choose.
(Gord Dunbar, Kincardine PC, Kincardine, Ontario in “Gathering” ACE 2019-20 adapted )