Posts Tagged ‘Awe’
Stay near to Jesus – Br. Todd Blackham
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
2 Peter 1:16-21
Psalm 2 or Psalm 99
When’s the last time you were good and truly dazzled? Was it a big budget movie in a state-of-the-art theater, or the big game on an ultra-high def TV? Was it the majestic beauty of a sunrise or the sparkle in a beloved’s eyes? You know the feeling of delighted awe. But, we live in a culture that chases the next dazzling thing so fast that it’s hard to keep pace. We become bored so quickly that it takes increasingly more to wow us again.
The disciples were good and truly dazzled that day on the mountaintop with Jesus. Something was revealed to them that they had not previously apprehended and they reacted in powerful ways. To describe the phenomenon, the gospel accounts use words like dazzling, brilliant, whiter than anyone could bleach, and one translation uses the word glistering. Like a combination of glistening and blistering. Glistering, it makes me think of something that you can see and feel all at once. There’s a kind of excitement that sets in at first. Peter blurts out excitedly about building canopies to mark the place. That eagerness though is only a first response. Soon something else sets in. As the bright cloud enveloped them they were overcome by fear. This has turned into a very different experience than simple amazement.
Some of the artwork depicts the scene with the disciples gazing with a stoic arm up against the light, but I love the more honest depictions with some of the disciples flipped completely upside down, contorted and sprawled out on the ground, terrified. Read More
On Being Forged, Shaped, and Fostered – Br. James Koester
We have heard it before. In fact, some of us have heard the Christmas story so often, that like Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas, large swaths of it can be recited from memory. Perhaps we can’t recite it word for word in the idiom of the King James Bible, but we know the story cold. If our inner Linus has not memorized it, we can certainly tell the story in our own words, and little would be lost. In fact, in telling the Christmas story in our own words, some parts it might even be embellished, the details highlighted, the emphasis personalized.
We all tell stories. We tell stories to convey information, and many stories are just that, information. We tell stories to amuse, and many stories are just that, amusing. However, we tell stories not just to convey information, or to amuse. We tell stories because stories have power. The most powerful ones are told over, and over again. It is those stories, the powerful ones, that we have in common. It is those stories, the ones in common, that are the most powerful. It is those stories, the powerful ones, the ones we share, that forge our common identity. They shape our corporate imagination. They foster our sense of community and belonging. It is those stories, the powerful ones, that change us, and in turn, are changed by us.
There is something to stories then, especially the powerful ones, that are transformative. These stories that change us, may not be about us, but we nevertheless find ourselves in them, or rather we find ourselves, and we find ourselves in them.
That’s what we are doing tonight. We are finding ourselves by telling a story. Indeed, we are telling many stories. That story, or those stories, are both, deeply personal, and amazingly universal for they have forged, shaped, and fostered us as individuals, even if we think they haven’t. It does not matter if you are a professed Christian, or a casual attender this evening, your life has been shaped by this story, even if you claim not to believe it. That same story is also amazingly universal. It has forged nations, shaped laws, and fostered education and the arts. In either case, a deeply personal story, or an amazingly universal one, the Christmas story is a story of discovery because through it, we find ourselves, and we find ourselves in it. Read More