UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
News from St Andrew’s
Craig’s letter of 11 February
Revd Craig Bowman
The lockdown continues and the inability to travel, short or long distances, to seek those experiences that can amuse, entertain and thrill us continues to cause frustration and, for some, resentment. As human beings experiences that raise us beyond the humdrum are vital for motivation and well-being. Not all of us can find those experiences in our own homes. Perhaps this last year has helped some of us to understand a little better the experiences of those for whom not going out is their normal situation and, perhaps too, we may have taken the opportunity to learn from these neighbours of ours how to live well in such times.
This Sunday’s gospel reading tells of one of those uplifting times.
Mark has been zipping along from one Sabbath to the next when we are suddenly brought to a halt this week by an almost magical event that doesn’t happen on the Sabbath. Mark suddenly provides us with more details in this passage than we are used to getting from him. It happens on top of a mountain. Jesus’ clothes become whiter and brighter than the sun and two of the great heroes of the Hebrew faith appear and start talking to Jesus. The disciples have no idea what they are seeing or hearing or experiencing.
It takes us to the mountain top where we experience something completely otherworldly; something beyond our understanding. It takes us to a place where we have to acknowledge that things are not what they seem to be. Time stands still. We are swept up in the wonder and magic, and we never want to leave. We want to hold on to this moment. We want this moment to exist for ever.
But it’s a moment out of time. As soon as we try to hold on to it, it begins to slip away. And it must slip away. We can’t survive out of time. The air is too thin at the top of the mountain. It must slip away. We have to let it go so that we can slowly trudge back down the mountain and live in the memory and power of that wonderful moment and somehow bring something of that encounter back into the everyday with us.
Sometimes Sunday worship, or a special service, can do this for us; take us beyond ourselves and equip us for our journeys through the valleys. As a leader of worship I would hope that every service does that but as a realist I know it isn’t always true. However some of it is about attitude – if we come to worship, whether in our homes or in a special building, expecting to encounter God I suspect we will be rewarded more often than if we gather waiting to be entertained.
The Sunday service can be accessed by calling 020 3870 2810 or by clicking on the link on the church website.
May you encounter something of the glory of God this week.
Posted on 11 Feb 2021