After the clouds the sunshine
This Sunday as the last Sunday before Lent. Each year on this Sunday we hear the story of the transfiguration of Jesus, this year hearing the version from Saint Mark. Here’s what I said.
What do you see when you look at the clouds?
Like many, I love the Peanuts cartoon strips – and possibly my all-time favourite dates back to 1960. Charlie Brown and his friends Linus and Lucy are lying on a grassy mound looking up at the sky.
Lucy says: Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton wool. I could just lie here all day, and watch them drift by. If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations. What do you see Linus?
And Linus, being particularly imaginative, says: Well, those clouds up there look to me like the map of British Honduras on the Caribbean. That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen … I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side.
Lucy replies: That’s very good … What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?
And poor Charlie Brown, having heard Linus’s response replies: Well, I was going to say a ducky and a horsy, but I changed my mind.
You can see the original strip by clicking here.Continue reading
What I said on Sunday – Transfiguration Sunday
Last Sunday was what we call in the Church of England the Sunday next before Lent. It is also known as Transfiguration Sunday, hence the theme of my sermon. We had a baptism during the service which I mentioned in the sermon – I’ve removed the name of the baby being baptised.
I don’t know about you, but personally I’ve not climbed many mountains in my life. Well, strictly speaking I don’t suppose I can claim to have climbed any, since I always take the easy route – train or chairlift.
I remember in particular the time when we took the train to the top of Mount Snowdon in Wales during a holiday, and although Jesus and his companions walked to the top of their mountain, we had a similar experience at the top – we were overshadowed by cloud. It was a gloriously sunny day. No clouds in sight. An ideal day for going up a mountain – the views, we assumed, would be spectacular. The train set off on its journey to the summit – and it was about a hundred feet up that we entered the cloud. And this was no ordinary cloud. All the way up it rained, it was freezing, and the wind was so bad that it was impossible to keep the cold and the wet out of the carriages. At the summit station the children flatly refused to climb the short path to the actual summit of the mountain. They kept warm in the station whileAnne-Marieand I braved the elements and climbed the last few feet – I’m not quite sure why, since the only view we got was about six feet in front of us, since it was so dark and the rain was pouring down. Continue reading