..increasingly when the media report an accident or tragedy they will say “the victims suffered life changing injuries “.. life will never ever be the same again.. ..our readings tonight / this morning need a similar if different health warning, as we are offered life changing opportunities to take the risk & the adventure of Lent to heart.. what up to now has been carved in stone in 10 commandments, or written in ink in gospels, has to come to life..real life real relationship February 2018 ..Abraham was told to sacrifice his beloved son, to kill him with a knife..some of us have had to sacrifice a beloved loved one, not through the knife but illness disease tragedy, robbed of 10yrs / 50yrs of life & love.. our reaction speaks volumes about our ongoing developing relationship with our God & our loved one..from anger grief & loss to gentle self sacrifice & deepening loving intimacy with our lost loved ones..
“Abraham Mary John..here I am Lord..” ; Lord have mercy “..take your loved one & sacrifice them..” ; Christ have mercy “..because you have not refused me your loved one I will bless you..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..did Jesus have favourites?..an inner group of trusties..indeed he did..he needed Peter James & John to be more fully aware so that, when the going got tough, they would remember, stay solidly steadfast reliable & faithful..like you & I..& then came Gethsemane when life put them to the ultimate test “wait here & keep awake with me” ..the rest is salvation history, theirs & ours..”so you had not the strength to keep awake with me one hour” you couldn’t keep your mind & heart awake with me for 45mins of a Sat/Sun Mass..& in spite of being able to fast forward 3yrs to Holy Thurs night & realise they were likely to fall asleep in a shocking state of unawareness, “he took them away where they could be alone by themselves”..a Lent experience, a moment for spiritual pampering , like a ladies treat at Feversham Arms costing an arm & a leg..so too, here & now, 45mins of spiritual pampering & is it free?..or like Abraham will it “cost you not less than everything”? title of book & a mission statement for your Lent..& will you read the book or live the life?..& he was transfigured..wonderful story called “the Steward of Christendom” tells of a young Irish lad Willie & his dog Shep..tragically Shep commits mortal sin of sheepdogs, he kills a sheep..hear of Willie’s search for dog on fells & the eventual Lent journey home..I will share with you that closing moment of judgement later in Lent..the lad talks of Shep..“we had got him as a young dog that had been beaten somewhere, & broken, till he reached our haven, & uncoiled, & learned to bark like a baby learns to laugh, & he shone at his work” “shone” a transfiguration moment..do you shine at your work as servant disciples?..does the love energy & the face of God shine out / radiate from you?..if not why not?..years of unfulfilled potential as we’ve questioned blamed accused God of not listening to our prayers, our needs, our good reasons for not taking up the knife nor the Cross..too young, too old, not right moment, some else can do it better or they are more able, & we display our disabled badge in parish windscreen & claim exemption..& tragically poor Jesus’ pedigree had to be proven..so Elijah & Moses were wheeled in as spiritual referees..Elijah the prophet of the good old days..the Paul Nevill of Ampleforth College..Moses the lawgiver the spiritual guide who could tell such a good & convincing story, but never reached promised land..a patron saint for his fellow migrants kept out in Calais..& they “talked with Jesus”..oh to have been a fly on the wall ..Peter rock & dozer spoke up “it is wonderful for us to be here”..does he speak for you & I this evening/ morning I wonder?..& he wants to make it permanent, three tents for three celebrities..poor Peter, safe & well pleased with his milk teeth & holy company, rather than growing up to chew on wisdom teeth which taste real life off mountain & its rarefied atmosphere..three tents, & so far none of us has suggested we buy a tent, a good tent, & offer it to Joel..& who is Joel?..”this is my Son the beloved listen to him.”..the Fathers voice addressed to Peter James & John & referring to Jesus?..or the Fathers voice addressed to you & I referring to our Joel?..or both?.. “& suddenly when they looked round they saw no one with them any more only Jesus” ..what a great place & relationship to be this Lent..thee & me, & only Jesus.. “& among themselves they discussed what “rising from the dead” could mean..will you talk about it between yourselves?..sharing your Easter morning experiences..of mine last Friday week getting news of Anne Jubb’s death & imagining her transfiguration moment “..it is wonderful for me to be here..” ..will you talk about it?..5wks to go to Our Lords Resurrection, 5wks to your own Resurrection perhaps?..& today a transfiguration moment on that journey..to listen to words of scripture fine, but to begin to believe in them & live the moment in daily life..to go home from this mountain, this meeting place with God, radiant pampered restored re energised, to share the story the moment & the tent with your own Joel..it is a given for the favourite..& Jesus expects.. [2ndLentYrB Mk9;2-10]