2nd Sunday of Lent & Memorial Service for Brian Connelly
February 24, 2018
The story of a man named Job circulated in the Middle East for about 2,000 years before Christ. He was a wealthy man who had been given everything by God and he had nothing but praise for God. Even when Satan suggested that God tempt him by taking away all his riches, his family and his health, Job continued to praise God. Finally, the miserable man gave up on God. When sickness brought him to despair, he had this to say.
And now the life in me trickles away,
days of grief have gripped me.
At night-time, sickness saps my bones,
I am gnawed by wounds that never sleep.
With immense power it has caught me by the clothes,
clutching at the collar of my coat.
I cry to you, and you give me no answer;
I stand before you, but you take no notice.
You have grown cruel in your dealings with me,
your hand lies on me, heavy and hostile.
You carry me up to ride the wind,
tossing me about in a tempest.
I know it is to death that you are taking me
the common meeting place of all that lives.
Excerpt from “We Are Dust and to Dust We Shall Return” by Dawn Hutchings
On Ash Wednesday, we dare to speak the truth. We speak the truth not in the refreshing light of the morning but in the cold darkness of a winter’s night. We are dust and to dust we shall return. We will die. We are mortal beings and our lives will end. Our culture has taught us to deny death. Even our funerals have become celebrations of life. But life without the reality of death is lived cheaply, shallowly, and in a half-sleep, always pushing away and denying reality. So on Ash Wednesday let us revel in the knowledge that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Revel in this knowledge because it liberates us!
On Ash Wednesday the reality that we are part of something so much bigger than ourselves is born out in the knowledge that we are stardust, elements of the universe molded together over eons, molded together by a force bigger than we can even begin to imagine, a force we call God, whom we have come to know is Love. Love is breathed into the timeless elements and from the dust our ancestors emerged. Each of us lives and breathes and has our being as a result of the confluence of so many miracles we shall never be able to count. The Love who is God lives and breathes in, with, through, and beyond us.
Gospel Reading: Mark 9:2-10
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.
Jesus took Peter and James and John to a high mountain where they could be alone. And there Jesus was transfigured before their eyes; the clothes Jesus wore became dazzlingly white — whiter than any earthly bleach could make them.
Elijah appeared to them, as did Moses, and the two were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “how wonderful it is for us to be here! Let us make three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Peter did not know what he was saying, so overcome were they all with awe.
Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them; and there came a voice from out of the cloud: “This my Beloved, my Own; listen to this One.” Then suddenly, when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore — only Jesus.
As they came down from the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Promised One had risen from the dead. They agreed to this, though they discussed among themselves what “rising from the dead” could mean.
The Good News of Salvation! R: Glory and praise to our Savior Jesus Christ!
The readings from The Inclusive Bible are used with permission of the Quixote Center. If you wish to purchase a copy of The Inclusive Bible please visit The Bible-The First Egalitarian Translation at: http://quixote.org/resources/publications#sthash.XXL9SA1G.dpuf