Sunday, February 14th is two important days. Valentines Day is always February 14th. Please remember to “love one another” but not to fall into the traps set by Hallmark, the florist and the candy companies to spend too much money on wonderful sentiments and thoughts. Pastor Lia and I enjoy sweet sentiments too, but there is more happening on this day.
The second celebration on February 14 is the Transfiguration of Jesus. This is always celebrated on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent on February 17th. This year the dates coincide.
Let’s read Mark’s account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. (Mark 9:2-9 NIV)
2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
In this week’s sermon I will help us understand some of the images, what is happening and some of what this scripture means for us. The Transfiguration is a stunning sensory event that is pivotal in all the Gospel accounts. A veil is removed that reveals to the three disciples more than they ever imagined about Jesus. Peter has already confessed that Jesus is Lord, but does he know what that means? What veil is blocking our vision – our understanding of Jesus? In my devotional reading I found this reflection from writings by John Baillie that illustrates the effects of the Transfiguration on his vision and what it meant for his life.
May there fall upon me now, O God, a great sense of Thy power and Thy glory, so that I may see all the earthly things in their true measure.
Let me not be ignorant of this great thing, that one day is with Thee as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.
Give me now such understanding of Thy perfect holiness as will make an end of all pride in my own attainment.
Grant unto me now such a vision of Thine uncreated beauty as will make me dissatisfied with all lesser beauties.
Though earth and [all] were gone,
And suns and universes cease to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in thee.
I am content, O Father, to leave my life in thy hands, believing that the very hairs upon my head are numbered by Thee. I am content to give over my will to Thy control, believing that I can find in Thee a righteousness that I could never have won for myself. I am content to leave all my dear ones to Thy care, believing that Thy love for them is greater than my own. I am content to leave in Thy hands the causes of truth and of justice, and the coming of Thy Kingdom in the hearts of [people], believing that my ardour for them is but a feeble shadow of thy purpose. To Thee, O God, be glory for ever. AMEN.
From A Dairy of Private Prayer by John Baillie excerpted from A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People by Rueben P. Job and Noman Shawchuck, Upper Room Books, 1990. Pg.110.
Maybe Valentine’s Day and the Transfiguration do share some themes. On both days we see more than is revealed in our normal lives. Love is at the core of both events. I doubt Hallmark will ever produce a greeting card which adequately portrays the new reality Transfiguration presents for disciples of Jesus. Blessings, Pastor Tom
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Pastor’s ZOOM Bible Study - Wednesday @ 7PM. The Gospel of Mark. Each week we meet via ZOOM for an hour and a half using N.T. Wright’s, For Everyone Bible Study Guide - MARK. The book is available from Amazon or Cokesbury for $9.99. You are welcome to join or leave the study at any time. All are welcome.
Covid 19 Update
Because of our efforts to WEAR MASKS, SOCIALLY DISTANCE, and WASH HANDS the Covid 19 test positivity rate continues to go down. The Florida test positivity rate is 7.37% and in Lee County is 6.53%. To remain below 10% is the goal. In the past week in 33903, 29 persons have become infected. In 33909, 90 persons have become infected. In 33917, 49 persons have become infected. These are lower numbers than in past weeks. In Lee County over the past week 35 people have died. This is a greater number than in past weeks.
Vaccines are being administered at a rate much slower than any of us would desire. It is not because “someone” doesn’t want you to have it – or because there is a conspiracy. There simply isn’t enough vaccine produced yet for everyone to receive a vaccine yet. Though I am in a high-risk group with multiple health compromises, and under 65 I will be patient because I can protect myself with a mask, socially distance and wash hands. There are others at greater risk and less able to protect themselves. More vaccines are being produced and we will all be able to get a shot eventually. Be patient and do what is needed to protect yourself and others. WEAR A MASK, SOCIAL DISTANCE, AND WASH HANDS.
COVID-19 VACCINATION SAFETY submitted by Parish Nurse, Judy Greenstreet
Many folks have questions regarding the vaccination process for COVID. I find this very understandable and normal. The vaccines were processed much more quickly than usual with the CDC granting the "go Ahead" because the virus had killed at least 2 million people globally.
The technology using mRNA, which was developed long before the COVID-19 began to attack humans, was the technology used by the drug companies, Moderna and Pfizer. Trails of tens of thousands of participants were given the vaccines, prior to the FDA approval under the emergency authorization act.
The vaccine cannot give you COVID because it does not contain the virus.
"The live virus never enters your body in the vaccination process," according to Dr. Ruth Karron professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She further states, "that your cells learn how to make a part of the virus, but coronavirus can't replicate that way. The mRNA actually dissolves and leaves the body, after sending its message to your body.
After vaccination, you may have mild side effects, such as low fever, nausea and fatigue which should subside within 24-48 hours. Many people, who I know, that have been fortunate enough to be vaccinated, have had no side effects, other than a sore injection site for a few days.
People with severe allergies should consult with their doctor before getting the vaccine!!!
The information I have used to write this article was obtained by the expert advice of Dr. Karron and Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.