Pastoral Ponderings (February 2019)


I must say, and you know, January was a cold month. What will February be like? We will find out, but one thing for certain, February is closer to spring than January. Nevertheless, there were bright spots in January. January was filled with the celebrations of the day of Epiphany and Baptism of the Lord Sunday. Some youth and a few adults went to Resurrection ‘19 in the Great Smokey Mountains. Wednesday Bible Study resumed after a Christmas/New Year’s Break. We had several meetings and finally conducted our first Administrative Board Meeting, a week delayed. We have appreciated our few sunny days.

Church calendar-wise, we are still in Ordinary time throughout February due to Easter arriving later than normal (April 21). Ordinary time is the time of growth sandwiched between the high times of the Christian Year. The high times are Advent/Christmas/Epiphany and Lent/Easter and Trinity/Pentecost. Ordinary time’s green is the color of growth (and a few well-liked sports teams). To prepare us for Lenten Season, beginning in early March, we celebrate Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday (March 3).

Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday celebrates the mountain top experience of Peter, James, and John with Jesus (and Moses, Elijah, and God the Father) upon the Mount of Transfiguration. We may not experience the mountain top experience of Peter, James, and John, but we all have “mountain top experiences” in one form or another. In such experiences, we are encouraged and gain confidence with a new insight. These are usually fleeting and short-lived, but leave a lasting impression.

I recall a few I have experienced from times of prayer, to reading Scripture, to reading St. Augustine to Soren Kierkegaard to Sunday worship to a walk in the woods to learning from a wise
person. I have gained insight from others whom I did not think had insight to offer. May we always be open to learning from others, no matter their location or status in life. God works
through all of us!

Mountain top experiences have an opposite: The low times and we all experience them. We may wonder if God is with us, or if God has forgotten us, or if God is punishing us, or all three. In such times we especially long for an awareness of God or a sign from God, but that awareness or sign eludes us. It is then that faith in God’s faithfulness takes precedence. Faith is believing without having the evidence from our perspective and current experience. Take time to hear from your Christian sisters and brothers, as well as the Good News of God revealed in Jesus Christ: God values you. Going back to growth, the Holy Spirit is continually forming Christ within you and among us as Christ’s Church as we journey through life.

Pastor Mark McFadden