by Bob Wickizer

Bob Wicker
2 Kings 2:1-12; Psalm 50:1-6; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Mark 9:2-9

The apostle Paul began many of his letters with the words ''Grace and Peace be to you from God our Father.'' While our Gospel literally has Jesus, James and John in a mountaintop transfiguring experience, this week here at Grace has also been one of transfiguring grace and peace.

The Greek word for grace is ''charis'' conveying two possible meanings: It is either a compelling attractiveness that can inspire devotion in others or it is a divinely given power or ability. Episcopal preachers generally avoid talking about charismatic experiences but in order for us to get a handle on this revelation of Jesus through his transfiguration, there is probably no better way than to tackle it head on.

I was in seminary and my assigned parish was in Watertown Massachusetts, now famous because of the Boston Marathon bombers who lived a few blocks away. It was Holy Week and the music director had asked me to play a trumpet piece on Easter. Most of the piece was in the high registers for a B flat trumpet and with years of no practice I was struggling just to get the notes. I was in church practicing on a weekday afternoon and I had a sense that someone else was in the church too. I looked around and there was an African-American male standing in the shadows near a door.

I motioned for him to come in and as he approached me he said in a distinctly southern accent, ''Man, it's so good to hear a horn in church again.'' He had a brown leather coat, dreadlocks and a penetrating gaze. I was very frustrated trying to play that piece so I extended the trumpet and asked if he would like to play it. He wiped off my Bach 7B mouthpiece, stood back from the music and without warming up proceeded to play the entire piece perfectly.

He muttered some things about a particular section of the music, nodded his head and played a classical improvisation on the entire piece. Before I could say another word ...

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