Sermon for February 19, 2023           Transfiguration Sunday          “Do Not Be Afraid”

There are times when in faith we are called to do hard things that really are hard. And there are times we are asked to do things that seem easy but end up being hard. In the teaching today Peter, James and John are invited by Jesus to accompany him up a hill to watch and stay awake, which really means to pay close attention.

While there Jesus was glowing, radiating like a super bright light was on him and two others were with him. And the disciples were afraid. These tough fishers were afraid. It is human nature to be afraid of things we do not understand or have not seen before. I’m sure that at some point you have been afraid and then not. Let me tell you of a time that I was afraid, then not. I was a new driver and I was on the Bedford highway and all of a sudden a supper bright light appeared ahead of me and a bit to the right. It was off the ground about 10 feet (2-3 metres) and it was getting closer and then coming straight at me. In those seconds, which seemed like minutes, I was trying to figure out how to get out of the way, is it a UFO, how to explain a crash…then all of a sudden it was gone…and the rest of the train rumbled alone the tracks. Now I knew the tracks were there but had never experienced a train coming at night quite like that. When it happened again I was not afraid because I knew exactly what it was.

Peter, James and John knew Jesus, knew him well, they just never experienced him in that way before. So they were afraid. Jesus comes to them and says, look it is really me, do not be afraid. This will be a difficult experience to share with others so let’s keep it to ourselves.

It is good that we are reminded today on Transfiguration Sunday and the Sunday we celebrate Baden Powell and Thinking day. It reminds us that as Christians we come from a long by times glorious and by time trying history. That God spoke through men and women thousands of years ago, did so through Jesus and continues to this very day. Being one chosen to speak for God (and there are many and most are not clergy) can be terrifying and difficult as God continually calls on us to interpret the teachings in ways that make sense for our time. I can be challenging and even frightening to be a faithful follower of Jesus as the teaching call us to a high standard of caring, living and justice for others and creation.

As those in scouting and guiding we also come from a long line of leaders beginning with Lord and Lady Baden Powell.

Do you when scouting started?          January 24, 1908

What about guiding?               The next year 1909

Since then scouting/guiding has come a long way. The Wright brothers were having their first flights. Telegraph was the mode of communicating, or you could go to your neighbours, church or social gathering. No TV, no cell phones, no computers…you get the point.

For scouting and guiding and for Christians each step was filled with fear and dread. But we survived and more than that, adapted. Email, tweets, Instagram, snapchat are common and we sometimes wonder what we did without them. Some embraced change with minds wide open, others with fear and skepticism.

And on this day we are called to look to the past with all its glorious and imperfect events and people, live in this day knowing that we are essential to tomorrow, and do our best each day so that our tomorrow is secure for those who follow.

Best teaching of Jesus: you will love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and you will love your neighbour as yourself.

Scout: “On my honour I promise, to do my best to love and to serve God, my Queen, my country and my fellowman, and live by the Scout Law.

Guiding: I Promise to do my best, to be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada I will take action for a better world and respect the Guiding Law.

It seems that we have our work set before us to do our best today, to shine a bright light on all that is good and honourable and to live each day knowing that Jesus leads the way. So it seems that by times we may be fearful, we do not need to be afraid.