Saturday, October 6, 2012

But not having faith guarantees you won't


My friend Mark from the Presbyterian UN Office comes by for lunch, to catch up on what’s going on with West-Park, our social witness council at Presbytery, work with Stony Point, the Peace Fellowship, it’s a long agenda. The UN ministry continues to be a touchstone for us in the development of global discipleship. I share with him the details of Zeljko’s upcoming screening, his new documentary project on New York, dreams and dreamers. 

Underlying the discussion is the ongoing question of developing new ways of being church. Moving away from staff driven models to grassroots ministries, movements, networks. We continue to wrestle with that question at every level of church life. And the emerging paradigm is clear. Make real ministry happen at the local level, the rest will follow. I look forward to his next visit wit the congregation.

Zeljko comes in to check on progress on his projects. He meets with Steven and Kimberley to lay out strategies for building an audience for his screening. 

Bible Study resumes and its back to the Transfiguration. I explain that as opposed to the other Mark readings that have appeared in our services this season, the Transfiguration does not. It comes at the end of Epiphany, a doorway into Lent, one final burst f light in the season of Light before the shadows of Lent. 

Jesus’ companions on the mountain are significant. Moses, the Law, Elijah, the prophets. The two worlds of Jewish scripture. As Jesus said of the Great Commandment, (...and to love others as you love yourself....), ..on these two hang all the law and prophets. Every Jewish service has a reading from each. 

       * As Moses went to the mountain, Jesus goes to the mountain.
  • As Moses got to see the Promised Land, but never got to  in, so too would Jesus see the kingdom/kindom that will come. 
  • As Elijah was taken up into heaven and Moses’ grave hidden, so too would Jesus’ life end in an exceptional way.
  • As the Law and prophets are lifted up,  so now the Cross is lifted up as the way. The law and prophets coming together in a new revelation. 

And once again, the disciples don’t get it. Peter no longer calls him Christ, but Rabbi. As Judas will name him at the moment of betrayal. Peter wants to prolong the mountaintop experience by building booths. And Jesus cautions them to tell no one. Only after his death will the meaning of this event be clear. Until then, he rejects the spectacular. The way of the cross must be walked, must be lived through. Immediately thereafter, he heals one who seems to have epilepsy. One who cannot speak and is deaf. For the first time, there is no confrontation with demons. The issue here is faith. The disciples can do no healing because they do not believe. But the one who cannot hear or speak understands. Gets it. 

It’s like this: having faith is no guarantee you’ll get what you ask for, want. But not having faith guarantees you won’t.


Today Zeljko meets with Marc to square away all the technical details of the screening. Marc has all well in hand and the run through goes well. Marc even gets back up plans in hand. He’s also turned out good recordings of last Sunday’s sermon...(coming soon to this blog....)

Ted’s son Jon has come with a representative of Bread and Puppet Theatre, famous for their decades of giant, timeless feeling puppets for street theatre with a cutting political edge. I remember them well all the way back to (did I really say that?) the anti-Vietnam War peace marches. ( If we can work out the logistics, we want to bring them in for a major event early next year.

On a cold wet night, Steve and I meet Steven to catch the next to last baseball game between the Yankees and Red Sox.  

The streets are filled with lulav and etrog carrying Jewish neighbors celebrating Sukkot. Street cafes and back and side patios throughout the neighborhood filled with the temporary booths, simple thatched roofs that you must be able to see a star through. Booths. Just like Peter wanted to build.

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