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Archive for February, 2015

Being Transformed

“[Jesus] was transformed in front of them, and his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white.”  Mark 9:2b-3 (CEB)

It was an ordinary day with Jesus – well, maybe no days with Jesus were ordinary, but the disciples certainly didn’t expect a transfiguration right in front of their very eyes.  They probably thought that Jesus was taking them along for quiet time and prayer, and then this amazing vision of blinding light and the appearance of Elijah and Moses really caught their attention.

Peter didn’t know what to make of it, but he thought they should do something about it – so build three altars, commemorate this event, take come pictures to capture this extraordinary occurrence, write about it in your journal!  To give him a little credit, he really didn’t know what to do, but he knew that there was something special about the moment, and maybe to handle his fear, he focused on something he did know how to do – set up a worship center and build an altar to show that this had happened in that time and place.

Yet, Jesus told the three disciples not to say anything as they went down the mountain.  Throughout the gospel of Mark, we find repeated statements by Jesus to “tell no one.”  The secrecy may seem odd to us, but when we think about it, we can perhaps understand how waiting to see the whole picture (which only happened after his death and resurrection) was best.

When something happens in our lives that has a transforming impact on us (for good or bad), it is often prudent to see if we can figure out what the meaning is by looking backward – hindsight.  There may be things that happen to us that we don’t understand until years later.  Yet, often those things change us and may help us to become better people, stronger, more capable of dealing with the challenges that life hands us.

I remember being thirteen when my maternal grandfather died.  I didn’t understand it all, but I knew that it meant everyone was sad, including me.  The statement that stuck with me over 40 years later was someone who said, “Johanna (my grandmother) was so strong.  She never shed a tear.”  As a pastor, I now know that it really wasn’t a good example for my grandmother to hold everything in and not cry in front of her seven children and twenty-three grandchildren.  In that statement, I heard the message that it wasn’t all right to cry in public.

Now when people apologize for crying in front of me or anyone I’m with, I tell them that the tears are normal, and it’s all right.  In fact, I have discovered that the tears are healing.  That doesn’t mean that everyone will automatically do that.  We all have to grieve in our own ways, but if we need to cry, then cry.  My idea of shame at crying was transformed over the years from that one statement someone made about my grandmother.

Our lives are transformed by our relationships with God and each other.  Perhaps being open to the things that happen around us and being aware of our internal reactions will help us to continue to learn about life and about what life in Christ is all about.

Questions for thought:

When has an experience transformed your life or your thinking about something?

How was God involved or what do you believe God helped you to understand through that experience?

What are the good things that came out of even the negative experiences?

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Healing

After leaving the synagogue, Jesus, James, and John went home with Simon and Andrew.  Simon’s Mother-in-law was in bed, sick with a fever, and they told Jesus about her at once.  He went to her, took her by the hand, and raised her up.  The fever left her, and she served them.”  Mark 1:29-30 (NRSV)

The human body is a remarkable instrument.  We have been created with the capabilities of healing.  I sometimes wonder about all the medications we are on and whether or not our bodies would heal themselves if we didn’t take so many meds.  I don’t know; however, personally, I prefer not to take any more medications than necessary (although I do take a healthy dose of vitamins!)

Last November following my annual wellness exam, I decided to join a gym to try to improve my health and well-being.  It’s interesting because the trainer who did my health assessment talked to me about a new course that was being offered that I could still take.  The course covered nutrition, weight loss, exercise, stress management, and ways to care for one’s self body, mind, and spirit.  After years of being off and on with a particular weight loss program, I decided to try something different.

We are almost at the end of the class, and I have lost weight, feel better, am exercising a little more, and have started to set goals so I can continue this journey and make this my life-style rather than a class that will end in two more sessions.  Perseverance is a key component for me in becoming healthy.  And it is that way in having a healthy faith journey.

When we stop practicing our faith, our spiritual “muscles” become atrophied, and life’s challenges can weigh us down.  Sticking with good spiritual disciplines will help us to stay connected to Christ even when we falter and go astray.  Our spiritual lives often need a tune-up and need that extra lift toward wholeness, so staying connected to God through prayer, worship, and interactions with others helps us to stay on track.

My healing from food addictions (especially sweets) will take a while, but I’ve started.  My journey of faith continues to be reworked and revised as I learn more about what God sees in me and how God travels with me on this path.  Let us stay the course, and when we go off the wrong direction, let us turn around and keep on keeping on!

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