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New Perspective

By Rev. Joan Kessler

Luke 9: 28-36

Today as we celebrate our past year together and look down the road of the year ahead of us in our Annual General Meeting taking place in a few moment’s time, I was struck by the reality we are gathering on this day we call Transfiguration Sunday, a day of splendid illumination of the holy that surrounds us.

In celebration of all the moments that transfigure and change us, I received a poem in my inbox this week that I think fits this auspicious occasion very well. “Achieving Perspective”, written by poet and scientist Pattiann Roger tells of the things she doesn’t want to lose sight of, the things she doesn’t want to forget, and as you will see, all the interconnections we experience as humans relating to our natural world, and all the processes and systems that are in place that we don’t maybe take the time to recognize.

Achieving perspective… illuminating our sight… seeing the extraordinary in ordinary things… this is where the Transfiguration finds me this morning. The season of Epiphany has been about all the ways Jesus has revealed to his friends and foes who he is, what he values, what is at the core of his being. Today we heard Fran tell of the small group of disciples that go to the mountain with Jesus… a place out of their ordinary environment, and while there at the apex, they have this wonderful, transcendental experience… they see Jesus in a new light and this changes everything. Peter is so content on the mountaintop, he can’t imagine ever leaving this serene place where he is surrounded by his ancestors… we know this experience too… he doesn’t want this special feeling to end. But Jesus brings the reality home; they can’t stay; they need to return to their life on the ground, to descend back down through the valley. The experience on the mountain changes Peter’s perception of Jesus and his life with him going forward. This will not be an easy task for Peter as the story continues to unfold.

Seeing in new ways… 2021 was certainly a year for a new vision for us. The past year still saw much uncertainty surrounding us because of the pandemic… we remained on Zoom for most of our time together. Yet, in my estimation, we had a year of bringing a sense of community back together, fundraising initiatives that were not just about raising dollars, but about the fun we had and the joy I saw and experienced working together… we are happiest when we do these kinds of activities. We know the challenges that are before us. I make reference to some of the things that we are doing differently in my report to you and I shared my perspective. What did you see differently in our life together this past year? Maybe transfiguration is a regular occurrence that might be about learning to see ordinary things in extraordinary ways.

This story is all about beginnings… not endings… a good perspective to keep before us as we celebrate our Annual General Meeting today. I am grateful for all the ways we showed up this past year… bringing our passions, our dreams of the future, our concerns for our community… sometimes we are going up the mountain and sometimes we get to linger for a while at the top, and then we always journey back down… I like this image of ministry… it’s real and it’s visionary and it is lived from an open-hearted and deeply spiritual and faithful place. May we see the Light that shines among us and around us in all that we do and think and dream. Amen.

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