Pastor's Articles

 

From the Pastor’s Desk

Life is full of transitions and as I write this newsletter article, I am confronted with the fact that February is not yet over and March has not yet arrived. We often think of the past and look toward the future. How many of you celebrated Valentine’s Day? The ads were full of suggestions to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a little bit of “bling!” The holiday that elevates the warmth of our love and the softness of our hearts also pushes us to do so with something cold and hard, a diamond. Diamonds, we are continually reminded, are forever. That’s why they are worthy of a significant financial investment. Diamonds are expensive because they are rare, elusive, and found only in tiny bits and pieces. Yet if you could travel 50 light years away from Earth, to star BPM 37093, located in the Centaurus constellation, you would arrive at “Lucy” — a burned out sun, a “white dwarf,” whose entire central core is a planet-sized chunk of crystallized carbon, a diamond. 10 billion-trillion-trillion carats worth, to be precise. This “space diamond” was named “Lucy” after the Beatle’s hit, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” By comparison, the largest earth-diamond, the Golden Jubilee Diamond, is 545 carats — a sandal toe full of diamond “sand” on one of Lucy’s dunes. Diamonds are a chosen and cherished gem because of their sparkle and glow. They ignite with a kind of inner fire when the light hits them. Unfortunately for “Lucy,” that means that the solid diamond core of that dwarf star is as unremarkable and unassuming as any other stone. You could take a drawer full of exquisite diamond gemstones and dump them in a drawer and without the gift of reflective light, you wouldn’t know you had anything different than a box of rocks. February is also the month that we celebrate Transfiguration Sunday, the transition from Epiphany into the Lenten season. In both the gospel and the epistle texts, it is the miracle of divine light that “transforms” and “transfigures” the moment and the message. In the gospel text the brilliance and the purity of the light that illuminates Jesus, a brightness “such as no one on earth could bleach them” , is what first attracts the attention of Jesus’ disciple companions to the mountaintop meeting. However; let’s get the metaphor straight. There are two kinds of light. You can call them sun light and moon light. Or you can call them torches and diamonds. Sun light and torch light shine with their own light. Moon light and diamond light shine with borrowed light, illuminated with reflected brilliance. If you put a diamond in a dark room with a thousand other stones, you could not tell the difference between the diamond stone and the dirtiest of stones. The diamond stone becomes a living stone only in reflected light. We shine with borrowed light. Or we do not shine at all. The message of the Transfiguration is not to come to the mountaintop, but to “Come to Christ.” At the Transfiguration, Peter got excited and wanted to build dwellings to commemorate the place of this event. That was the wrong idea. The light was not meant to be boxed up, only trotted out on special occasions. The light was not meant to be collected and compiled, so that it could be worn to show off, like some people drape themselves in diamonds and then, like walking chandeliers, show up to show off. The light was meant to be reflected day by day. Peter had the wrong idea too because the light was focused not on a place but upon a person. The mountaintop did not need to be remembered. Jesus, the Christ, needed to be illuminated before all others. There are lots of flawed or even fake “diamonds” out there, claiming they are reflections of Christ’s person and message. How can we tell a genuine reflection of Christ from a “fake diamond?” We are used to seeing a rainbow as a positive sign, a promise, a perseverance. But the message of the church is filtered through the purifying focus of the one true light, the purest “diamond” ever perceived. And the one clear, brilliant light, the love light that God sent to us, is the person of the Son, Jesus Christ. We don’t need to give off a rainbow-assortment of dazzling programs, a something-for-everybody jewelry box of glitz and glam, a Six-Flags-Over-Jesus one-stop entertainment center to attract people to church. A real diamond reflects the true light by absorbing it into its depths and giving off only a grey light that brings everyone around it to life and light. It is that same depth of Light absorption that we are missing today in our personal lives and in our shared life together as the body of Christ. The person of Jesus Christ is not just a Sunday morning experience. The person of Jesus is the Light we must reflect in our lives, our actions and our words, every day of our lives. We shine with borrowed brilliance. And just as your “diamond is forever,” so is the greatness of God’s gift forever. Singular. Shining. Without question. Without flaws or imperfections. “Unveiled,” God revealed the love and presence of the divine in Jesus Christ. It is this light the world needs, not our light, but the light of Christ that shines through us. This Lenten season, truly usher the season in and join us in the journey. Experience the light that leads us all to the of resurrection of Easter morning.

                                                         Let His light shine through you, 

© 2018 Southern Lehigh St. Paul's
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