Second Sunday of Lent 3/16/14
Deacon Thomas Winninger, CSMA
Gn. 12:1-4, 2 Tim. 1:8-10, Mt. 17:1-9.

Go forth to the land I will show you.

Climb every mountain, search high and low, ford every stream, and follow every rainbow, till you find your dream. And those lyrics are from? (Pause) That's right, the Sound of Music! The Von Trapp family sang that song as they were seeking to escape the tribulations of their occupied country.

The question this second Sunday of Lent is what mountains are you trying to climb in your life? Are they mountains or as my grandfather would say molehills you are trying to turn into mountains? And what do you expect to find at the top of your mountain? Better stated, what mountain must you climb to experience Jesus in your life? What must you and I do to make room for Christ in our lives so that he can help us be transformed by his transfiguration?

This Lenten journey is about finding Christ at a deeper level in our life so that we can discover who we really are, so that we can discover what he is calling us to do with our life that we have not done. Now, there is a deeper question for reflection, "What are we suppose to do that we have not done so far in our lives?" I am not trying to lay a guilt trip on you; most of us do a pretty good job of that ourselves. But in all reality, life is a journey of self-discovery and transformation. It is a journey of becoming, becoming better. Will we be any better at the end of this Lent?

The theme of today's readings is all about seeking the answers to our life. Now this certainly is not going to happen today, or even this week but today is a good day to ask the question. "What does God want me to do that I am not doing? And how will he help me along the way? How will he help me transform?"

In the first reading from Genesis God asks Abraham to leave his homeland and to seek an unknown place where he will come to discover what his life is all about. Now Abraham could have said, "Lord, I'm going to stay right here, I'm happy right here, I'm going to stay put, so find someone else to pester with your self discovery stuff." But he did not say that, he went as God directed him. When the Lord God said, "Go forth from you homeland," he went forth. How many of us right here in this assembly including myself would have gone forth, no matter how enticing the promises were. But then we might say, "But God spoke to Abraham, he is not speaking to me." And what makes you so sure that he is not speaking to you? Is it because you cannot interpret the signals or you are too busy pitching your own tent to catch on to what he has in store for you? Remember Abraham was over eighty years old at the time the Lord told him to go forth. That means none of us has an excuse. Age is not an excuse for most of us in this room.

Perhaps we should pray more fervently, as David did in Psalm 33, "Lord, let your mercy be upon us, as we place our trust in you." Lord, show us where you want us to go forth as we place our trust in you. If we had more trust and hope we would go forth out of our comfort level.

In Paul's letter to Timothy, he says in the Lord Jesus Christ we find hope to climb the mountains of life. "Grace is made manifest in us." But we must make the climb, we must live our faith in our lives and in our work.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus opens the eyes of Peter, James, and John to the reality of their call. He takes them up the mountain and is transfigured before their eyes. You ask, what does that mean? It means that he showed them his divine nature and his relationship to the Father. He took them beyond their human limitations. He showed them that if they follow his path, it will be worth the trip. The primary purpose of the transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the Cross. He revealed his glory so they would not lose hope when they witness him being crucified.

What are we called to do as a result of these readings? First, we are called to realize that our journey is not over yet. Each of us still has a mountain to climb in our life. No matter what our age or situation, Jesus is calling us to be transformed in this journey of life. He is calling us to look to him for hope, guidance and confidence that things will be good. Second, on a more practical level we are called to associate with people who are more joyful and faith filled than ourselves. In other words, befriend people who are more hopeful believers. Clearly, it's easier to be joyful around joyful people who live their faith, than skeptics who are to busy tearing things down. Remember, Peter in his joy of the transfiguration offered to build three tents. Third, we are called to pray for strength, wisdom, and insights into our lives so that we can come more clearly to what Jesus wants us to do with our time, our talent, and gifts.

"Go forth..." he says, "... to the land I will show you".