Pew Sermon – Sunday 8th August

From Reverend Rutton Viccajee

Hello again, everyone. On Sunday we celebrate the Transfiguration of Christ. What is transfiguration and is it too weird? Not at all! See below. It’s for everyone, and it’s – well, sorry, I can’t think of a better word -brilliant!! 

We are trying very hard to get Zoom working in church so that people who cannot attend can worship at home. It is a LOT harder than it sounds but we are getting close, so here’s hoping and praying we can iron out the gremlins, and get everything working. 

Do please pray for your churchwardens, your treasurers, your bell-ringers, organists and choirs – they all strive very hard to get things working and worshipful at what remains a challenging time. 

At the moment, despite all the mixed signals and statistics, Covid still threatens. We are urged by Them to remain cautious. Eighteen months of such careful and cautious monitoring reminds me of the AA Milne poem ‘The Good Little Girl’. 

It’s about a girl called Jane who points out how her parents incessantly ask her: “Have you been a good girl?” 

Well, what did they think that I went there to do? 
And why should I want to be bad at the Zoo? 
And should I be likely to say if I had? 

I sometimes think the children have thought things through rather more, and rather better, than the adults! But that’s another matter.  And so, like Jane in the poem, we carry on playing the ‘being good’ game (when anyone is watching anyway!) by masking and distancing, washing our hands and sanitising, and secretly wondering when we can stop being monitored by Them, who, in fairness, have the totally hopeless task of keeping us safe, and getting us all back to work and – normal? 

Now there’s a much-debated word. If you have been following our sermon series over the summer, you might perhaps conclude like me that ‘normal’ is in short supply in the Gospels, and is, perhaps, unlikely to ever return for Peter, James and John. 

Perhaps ‘normal’ for them would have included fishing, trying to earn enough money to live, pacifying their wives (who ended up doing all the tough domestic jobs), mending nets, squabbling when no fish were caught, and trying to keep under the Roman and Synagogue taxation radars. Another day, another denarii. 

Until Jesus turned their ‘normal’ upside down, with his teaching, healing, feeding and countercultural confrontations against just about everything normative in their society. 

It is questionable whether these three very ordinary fishermen were getting used to the ‘new-not-normal’ of Jesus by Luke chapter 9. But things are now about to reach new non-normal heights, as Jesus is transfigured, before their eyes, into a dazzling spiritual whiteness. 

And Jesus is joined by two ‘Exodus experts’ – Moses and Elijah – also dressed in dazzling supernatural white light. And they compare notes. And the three disciples don’t know what to say, or what to make of it.

We hope and pray that in our own situations, the spiritual and the transformative will break through, giving new life and power and meaning to our everyday, as we rest in the love and power of a transformative God. 

Who wants to go back to normal after that experience? Come along on Sunday to find out more.

May God bless us all at this time. Amen