The Last Sunday before Lent

I have chosen a more sedate retirement than I’d ever imagined, and no longer (after 22 years) preach almost every Sunday. This morning I volunteered as I thought there was an opportunity for a Serious Scriptural event to be combined with humour and practical questions.

I read the account of the Transfiguration from Luke 9, commenting first on how the three disciples (to whom my own Apostolic Accession is traced) knew the identity of the two ‘men who appeared from nowhere’ at a time when there was no TV, Skype, photos or videos? Surely it can only be the Holy Spirit who revealed identities to them?

Peter always seems to be the easiest Disciple for me to identify with. “Lets build three shrines here” with his eye very much on there being a permanent building for each, no doubt providing a great tourism attraction to rejuvenate the area. God showed what He thought of Peter’s idea by enveloping the area in a dense cloud. When it lifted Jesus was there on his own.

I said I thought we all tried to compare one person with another, one horse with another  and so on, suggesting that the easiest way to describe an elephant was that it was like a  rhino with a long twisty, hollow trunk. As far as Jesus is concerned, there is no one with whom He can be compared, and God told them – quite bluntly.

Lent begins next Wednesday and it is the tradition in the UK for pancakes to be cooked on what we call Shrove Tuesday, in obedience to the Old Testament instruction not to have certain foods during Lent, that starts the following day: foods such as meat and fish, fats, eggs, and milky foods.

Not only is today the last Sunday before Lent (which doesn’t Liturgically exist) but it cannot be Liturgically described as the Sunday before Pancake Day. It is Transfiguration Sunday, when God reminded us of the 4th Commandment, that we should have no other God’s than the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Lent is regarded as a period of DENIAL. Giving up chocolate or reading the Scriptures more or Praying more, but I think it is much deeper than that: it is adopting a TOTALLY different and OUTWARD way of living out Christ to those around us.

You are assured of our Lenten prayers.