Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This Sunday, Pastor Matthew Johnson will be preaching at Dundee. His primary text will be the story of Jesus transfiguration on the mountain. (Luke 9:28 – 36) Jesus had gone to the mountain to pray. He took with him, as he so often did, Peter, James and John. Luke tells us that while he was there he was “transfigured.” His face changed and his clothes appeared to be dazzling white. The disciples were enthralled and wanted to build three dwellings so Jesus could stay up on the mountaintop and bask in his glory. But Jesus knew that he had to come back down to be with the people, to be where the people were hurting and longing for healing and hope.
Now usually when I preach or teach on this passage, I focus on Jesus’ need to come down off the mountain and that the people were there waiting for him. An immediate plunge back into the demands of ministry.
But, as I write this, I am in Wisconsin at our Lake House. This is the place to which I come when I need time to step away from the demands of ministry, when I need time to be still and hear the voice of God speaking to me, to be in place that never fails to restore my soul. To be in a place where I can breathe and simply be. Like Jesus, I know, at least for now, that I cannot stay there. That the time will come for me to return to Dundee, to my ministry, and my life with all of you. But I return refreshed and renewed.
It is my hope and prayer that each of you has such a place in your life as well. A place where you can go to be restored in mind, body, and spirit. It does not have to be a moutaintop, a lake, or even a place away. It can be a room in your house. I have a meditation corner in the basement of the parsonage, where I can spend some quiet time every day, to slow down, and listen for God. I know people who find this sense of peace when they are cooking or baking, folding clothes, gardening, taking walks in nature.
Wherever that place and time is for you, I invite you to name it and to be intentional about spending time in that sacred space. Jesus needed that time away to be with God. He needed to get to a place that fed and nourished his soul. We do, too.
:”Take time to be holy. The world rushes on. . . . Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul.”
My hope and prayer as we prepare to enter another season of Lent, and with all the turmoil, confusion, and chaos in our world and in the UMC, that we will make time to be holy, to be still, to listen to God, and let God renew us and restore our souls.