by Bob Wickizer

Bob Wickizer
2 Kings 2:1-12; Psalm 50:1-6; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Mark 9:2-93-2-2003
4 Epiphany - The Transfiguration

Last weekend your vestry and rector spent some very productive time taking the parish ideas about God's vision for St. Philip's and hammering them into something more solid along with a set of goals we hope to achieve as a parish this year and for the next three years. The buildup from vision to goals to mission begins of course with vision (or prophecy as Hebrew term is also translated) because "without vision [or prophecy] the people perish."

Today marks the last Sunday in Epiphany. Wednesday this week we will begin our long personal journey to Jerusalem, the foot of the cross and the empty tomb.. Today is also World Mission Sunday. Our Gospel lesson tells the story of the transfiguration of Jesus in front of Peter, James and John. What could these wildly divergent themes have in common?

Vision [or prophecy], mission and transfiguration together define a process pointing us into the future. Prophecy is about revealing God's plan for us. Mission is about entering into that plan and transfiguration is about the little glimpse of God we may see when we follow Jesus down the mountain into our own mission.

Your vestry-rector team is excited about the work we are doing in discerning God's plan for St. Philip's. We are doing a terrific job in this work. We will turn to transfiguration - the glimpse of God we get when following Jesus, but first we must take a closer look at mission. In particular I want to raise the question, "What's wrong with mission?"

The word "mission" simply means to be sent. In a Christian or any religious context, practical questions always arise surrounding "Sent where?" "Sent to what people?" "Sent for what purpose?" Jesus' exclusive mission to the lost sheep of Israel in fact was changed in a single encounter with the bold Samaritan woman at the well. Through this woman's persistent questioni ...

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