December 01, 2019: 1st Sunday in Advent

Let us pray: Dear Lord Christ, as we begin a new church year, focus our attention on what awaits us—not only this coming Christmas and new year, but the larger issues having to do with the eternal future that awaits us.  Equip us to cast aside the deeds of darkness and its attendant temptations and walk into the Light of your grace and mercy.  Yes, sweep our hearts clean of sin so that we have room for your forgiving love.  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR COMING CHRISTMAS KING!

TEXT:  Romans 13: 11-14

Dearly Beloved in Our Coming Lord Christ: 

          About 10 years ago our country’s Secretary of State was the point person for a new campaign to improve relations between Russia and America.  That official met with the Russian government in a televised press conference and spoke about a new “reset” of relations.  She even pulled out a giant “reset” button as a prop—kind of like you might see in a Staples ad.  Then she hit the button, expecting it to light up.  Nothing happened!  It was a dud.  It didn’t work.—And so we still find ourselves today at odds with Russia.

          Advent is a Godly time for us to hit a “reset” button in our own lives.  Hopefully, peace and harmony with God and ourselves will come out of it.  And today’s lesson gives us a blueprint to accomplish this, otherwise your life will turn into a dud….

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          Advent is our “present time.”  Advent 2019 foretells snow storms on the horizon, a cold winter, people spending far more than they can afford, superpowers squaring off against each other, superbugs which will lay many low, and basically more problems than we can count.  It will feature evil’s intrusion into our lives and cause us to question the meaning of life.  So what are any of us going to do about it?  Listen to Paul: “And do this, understanding the present time.  The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”

          Most would say that the Christian Church is outmoded and time has passed it by.  Most would say it is comprised of stodgy, boring people who live in the past and cling to ancient ideas of right and wrong, along with a morality that doesn’t fit our fast-paced world.  Most would say that the Church is an anachronism, a concept that time has left behind.  Paul tells us to throw off your blanket of accepting this view, to rouse yourself from the slumber of complacency you often indulge in, and to get ready for big things, cosmic events leading up to Christ’s 2nd coming and the end of the world.  Can you imagine eating a big turkey dinner, engaging in self-congratulations around the table, shuffling off and going to sleep—right through the evening news—and missing out on the “breaking news headline” which announces the end of the world?! Christ is coming.  The future of God’s power and judgement is very close by.  And Christmas, in 24 days, will inaugurate His 1st coming in preparation for His 2nd coming.

II

          It’s time to reset ourselves.  “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

          The word: holiday means “holy day.”  Anything holy is associated with God, isn’t it?  And yet the holidays, including Christmas, usually revolve around selfishness, greed, drunkenness, illicit sex, and generally almost anything that isn’t “holy.”  Because it is the modern American way, even Christians get caught up in this web of evil.  From now until Christ’s birthday the headlines will scream about how holiday sales are up.  It will reek of materialism.  The vast majority will spend most waking hours “thinking how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”  And then in the hard, cold light of January, the bills will come due with a thud.  Likewise, God’s bill will someday soon come due, too, concerning our life and the future of our soul.

          And so we are to ponder all these issues during Advent and hit our own reset button!  Elsewhere, Paul tells us this: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  If you do that, these days leading up to Christmas will be full of meaning, none of which will cause you a sleepless night.  And you can do that by focusing on the Baby Jesus Who is coming to win your freedom from the inroads of evil by triumphing over it on a cross and by handing you His victory—all wrapped up and lying in a simple manger.  Most would call that a quaint, delusional dream; but by His grace, we call it: a promise of God!  So hit your reset button starting today and see the beauty and timelessness of that promise fulfilled in your life this very year!  Amen

THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH…..

Pastor Thomas H. Fox

Dec. 1, 2019 

November 24, 2019: Christ The King Sunday

Let us pray: Dear Savior, You alone are the King of all creation.  You alone know everything and shape and mold everything so that Your name will be hallowed and Your kingdom of grace may flourish.  Today give us a glimpse into Your greater truth that surrounds and protects us.  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR LOVING KING!

TEXT:  John 18: 34-38

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          I watched a little bit of the spectacle in Washington over the past 2 weeks.  I watched various witnesses being sworn in, declaring they would recount: “The truth, the whole truth.”  And it brought to mind the question of Pilate to Christ: “What is truth?”  Let’s ponder it.

I

          Is it the truth to declare “the sun is shining?”  Well, not today in Burlington, MA.  But somewhere in the world it is.  So, that truth is therefore dependent on where you live and what time of day it is.  Such truth is relative.  How about: “Today is November 24, 2019.”  Is that true?  Again, it depends on the calendar you’re following.  Here’s another one: “I love you.”  How?  In what way?  Does your love ever waver or fade?  Such truths are relative.  Some will say: What about the truths of science?  I answer: How do you know gravity exists throughout the universe in the exact same way we understand it?  Maybe there’s an alternate universe where it doesn’t exist?  By now you’re a bit exasperated.  Truth, human truth, is relative, dependent upon our understanding of something at that time and in that situation.  Is it any wonder Pilate was a cynic and mockingly asked Jesus: “What is truth?” 

          What precipitated this exchange between the Roman governor and Christ, the King of all creation?  It was Jesus saying: “You are right in saying I am a king.  In fact, for this reason I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

          This whole exchange brings up a reality-jarring problem all humans face.  That is the difference between subjective truth vs. objective truth.  Subjective truth is whatever is true for you.  So, color blind people see red whenever most others see green or blue.  What is “true” for one may not be “true for the other.”  Likewise, a sociopath may adopt a murderous lifestyle as “truth” whereas most others would say: “That’s horrible and wrong!”  If you boil it down, most of what is called: “truth” in this life, is utterly subjective.  That is, it’s right for me but not necessarily right for anyone else.  And of course, this breeds chaos, so we try to ignore the problem and sort of let the majority rule. 

          Then there’s objective truth, or “it’s true whether you believe it or not.”  Or, it’s true and correct even though you may not understand or grasp its correctness.  Let me ask you this: “What happens when you die?  Where do you go?  What do you do?  Do the same rules of earthly life apply in the hereafter?  And how and from what source do you know anything about this?”   By definition time isn’t timeless.  So, is truth timeless? 

          Pilate was what we’d call a modern man.  He was a cynic.  He questioned everything and believed only in what he had experienced: The power of might makes right and money buys anything.  His question: “What is truth?” stems from all that he could not quantify.

II

          Jesus’ answer to Pilate is intriguing.  “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  That’s a stunning statement.  It presupposes that Jesus knows real truth.  He presupposes that Jesus possesses knowledge far beyond mere human comprehension.  It presupposes that He possesses knowledge, wisdom and understanding which is timeless and infinite.  Pilate was a smart cynic and he grasped a portion of what Christ was saying.  No wonder he responds with: “What is truth?” 

          Jesus’ response is grounded in the truth that God exists, that He alone knows truth, and that Jesus is God in human flesh.  Recall Him saying: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  That would make Him the King of the universe, answerable to no one.  And because Jesus is God’s Son and there’s unity in the Trinity, all this is True! 

          Jesus tells us about Himself in the Bible.  Here’s another passage: “God Word is truth!”  So, whatever the Bible says is correct across all ages and stands the test of time and human relativity.  So, when Scripture tells us not to: cheat, steal, lie, murder, or commit adultery—those truths are always in force.  Thus, whoever breaks those rules sins against God and “the soul that sins it shall die.”  Such truth is black and white with no extenuating circumstances.  Otherwise God’s truth isn’t true.

          But there’s another great truth in the Bible.  It is this: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them anymore.”  That truth is the Gospel.  It is encapsulated in Jesus’ own words from the cross: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  God is light and him dwells no darkness at all.  God is love.  Those truths show and tell us how He conquered the untruth of Satan’s lies.  They tell us that Godly truth won an eternal victory over sin and evil on the cross and confirmed it by rising from the dead.  So, even that commonly accepted truth: “When you die, you die” is false!  For Christ died but came back to life!  He did it for you and me.  And when we believe in Him, or as Jesus says here: “Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me” well, God’s truth trumps human relativity. 

          My friends, Christ is our King!  He knows the truth, gives it to us through faith, and it sets us free!  It sets us free from the silliness of human understanding about all the great issues of this life and the one beyond.  It provides us a paradigm for living: “If you continue in My words, then you are my disciples; and then you shall know the truth and that truth shall set you free!” 

          Truth is a beautiful thing in that it is never wrong and never goes out of style. So  listen to Christ the Purveyor of real truth and no matter what occurs in this life you WILL live happily ever after!  Our King has made it so and nothing and no one can change that fact!

THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH…..       

Welcome to Pinewood!

IMG_0231Sharing the joyous news of forgiveness in Jesus Christ is our chief purpose. To that end, we seek to nurture everyone we meet.

Join Us For Worship

Sunday Worship

10:45 a.m.

10:00 a.m. Summer Services

Starting June 1, 2019, we will begin our summer schedule with Sunday service beginning at 10:00 a.m. 

Note from the Pastor About Pinewood:

People often say: “The devil is in the details.”  We at Pinewood like to say: “God is in the details!”  It’s true!  God cares about our lives down to the smallest of details.  He never overlooks any of us.  He shows kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love to all from the smallest infant to the most seasoned member.  And along the way He breeds happiness, joy, and inner peace among all His children.  That’s why we’re a contented congregation.  He gives such blessings to each of us—and we share them.  We laugh together, we cry together, we praise God together, and we give thanks together.  We invite you to be  part of such togetherness.   Pastor Thomas H. Fox

February 28, 2021: 2nd Sunday in Lent

Let us pray: Dear Lord, thank You for giving us all the blessings of grace!  Thank You for providing us with hope, joy, fortitude, and inner peace so that we can endure the hardships of life and come out on the other side with a heart that rests in Your unfailing love.  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO IS GOD’S GRACE PERSONIFIED!

TEXT:  Romans 5: 1-8

Dearly Beloved in Christ: 

          Think back 6 months ago.  It was early September.  The weather was beautiful, the temperatures typical for Fall.  The Apple harvest was coming in.  The land seemed peaceful and calm.  But the country, and most of its people, were not.  Our fellow Americans were seething inside.  We’d been locked up or locked down for 6 months.  The open fear over the virus had ruptured America’s calm.  An uncertain election loomed.  Nasty words with a nasty tone were spewed forth each day.  People longed for a vaccine, an antidote to their woes.  If the average American had heard me read these words of our text then, they would have said: “That’s pie-in-the-sky nonsense!”  They would have cringed, especially at the phrase: “but we also rejoice in our sufferings.”  Rejoice over Covid?  Rejoice over economic disaster? Rejoice over the pain and anguish we’ve endured?  Rejoice over knowing that everything we’ve taken for granted, normalcy, would be forever changed?  Yes, apart from faith Paul’s words DO sound like nonsense.  But not for the believer in Christ!  Only the Christian can accept and rejoice over Paul’s words.

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          Paul had a hard life.  In many respects his life had more pain, suffering, rejection, and upheaval than most.  You know his history so I won’t catalogue it here. (And if you don’t know read the Acts of the Apostles this week.)   And yet from the depths of his soul, he writes this seemingly (to the world) paradoxical text. 

          War is horrible.  You cannot escape it.  It grinds you down and will kill you.  Longing for peace and “normalcy” won’t end war.  It might put it on hold for a time, but war is always with nations and peoples.  War within your heart is even worse.  It is continual upset and unease and fear over any sense of a blessed afterlife.  Such war is fear over and against God.  This is America today—or at least the non-Christian part of our nation. 

          How do we attain non-war, or the status of peace with God?  Well, here’s the answer: “Therefore, since we have been justified (declared by God Almighty as totally forgiven and right with Him) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”  On the macro scale, the eternal one which actually counts, this is our reality.

          Like all of you, I have had my moments of weakness and unease over this past year.  I, too, have questioned God with the weekly repeating of: ”Why Lord?”  That’s because, like you, I often get bogged down in the micro-minutia of life instead of focusing on the macro plan, which is the grace of God. 

          But, whenever God gives me a good gospel shake, I return to my Christ-centered roots. And then I take comfort in the truth of Paul’s next words: “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  This is the active result, the fruit of the Gospel, which all Christians possess.  It’s also why the Spirit is known as: The Comforter from on High.

II

          No one longs for suffering, but everyone longs for peace. And is here how it comes to us and why.  “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone mighty possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 

          Christian hope it totally different than human hope.  Christian hope is grounded in and founded by God’s undeserved love for us in Christ, His Son.  It is foolishness, nonsense, to the myopic world.  But it reveals the amazing heart of our Creator and shows why He alone deserves honor and glory. 

          God’s grace, His peace, His hope is what keeps us centered amid chaos.  It keeps our eyes on the prize of heaven, even when depression and despair begin to overwhelm us.  So,  yes, for you and me, “we rejoice in our sufferings.”  We rejoice because they lead to perseverance, character building times, and by grace alone we come out the other side filled with hope—not only of a better tomorrow, but a better forever.  And it all stems from grace—the love of God for  us—which can never be destroyed!  And if you doubt that, just focus on Christ’s empty tomb.  There even death itself got swallowed up and stomped on in His victory to and for Life!  Amen

THE peace of God which….

Pastor Thomas H. Fox 

February 21, 2021: 1st Sunday in Lent

Let us pray: Dear Savior, thank You for always being there for us!  Thank You for being our physical, emotional, and spiritual Rock upon which we can always rely.  So, in the midst of temptations, surround us with Your mighty hedge which fences off all evil from infecting us and repels all invaders from Your temple of faith within our hearts.  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST THE CONQUERER!

TEXT:  Romans 8: 37-39

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          Is it the “drip, drip, drip” or the deluge that you fear the most?  Most would say that the deluge is far more serious, but the “drip, drip, drip” accomplishes the same outcome.  It’s just a matter of time.

          When it comes to sin and temptation, we fear the deluge.  It knocks us off our feet of faith and threatens to drown us.  It’s scary to see that wall of water approach and we feel paralyzed by it. But, the drip method is insidious, and deadly, too.  We get lulled into complacency by it.  But erodes the foundation until suddenly the edifice topples into the sea.  Think about all those winter storms and watching someone’s house crumble and wash away—all because of a little drip that ended in a deluge.

I

          The corrosive effects of sin employ both these methods to destroy our Christian faith.  Satan employs both methods to pull us away from God.  The world ignorantly backs such spiritual destruction.  And our old Adam apathetically goes along with this destructive flow.

          I don’t do social media.  To me it’s a huge waste of time.  I prefer to tell the world what’s on my mind, publicly, in sermons.  That being said, social media has fostered a whole culture of taking shots at others while hiding behind anonymity.  People tear others apart while hiding behind internet “handles”  and made up names.  This “drip, drip, drip” of abuse takes its toll, too.  And unless you cut yourself off from it, it will destroy your inner bliss. 

          Sometimes, you get to see the tidal wave coming in advance.  The pending train wreck of an affair can be clearly seen, if you open your eyes, before it destroys your marriage.  A dreaded audit from the IRS will hit unless you declare income and don’t try to hide it.  Abusing your physical health will hit hard if you don’t made good life choices.   The point is: whether it’s a deluge or a drip, the corrosive effects of sin will undermine your faith.

Satan knows all of our weak points.  He uses whatever method, usually a combination of both, to pull us away from God.  This is the nature of sin.  This is the nature of temptation.

II

          Every Christian has a 6th sense about this.  It’s our faith and allegiance to God crying out for help.  When you lay in bed at 3 am and your mind races over inner upset, well, that’s a cry for Godly help.  It’s a reminder that you cannot handle life all on your own.  And then another temptation comes calling.  You ask yourself: “Where is God?  Why doesn’t He intervene and take away my upset?”  This is the quandary all humans find themselves in—but especially believers since the devil works overtime to subvert us. 

          And that is why God caused this glorious text to be written!  Here is His answer: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

          That list pretty much covers all the floods and all the drips of inner despair that we will ever experience.  Nothing can undermine, crest, or topple Christ, the Rock of our salvation. He literally is our immoveable Object.  And since our faith is built, literally, on Jesus Christ and His loving righteousness, well, the waterlogged sands of life cannot overcome it!

          I draw your attention to the final verse where it says: “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  What’s vital for Godly salvation is HIS love for us.  Our love for Him is often as weak as we are.  It can buckle and crumble when the right temptation comes along. But His love for us, all of us, is clearly shown by His suffering on the cross for us, and then His resurrection in our place—going from death to life and now remaining in that heavenly life for all time and beyond. 

          My friends, Lent is the time to ferret out and face all the drips and all the tsunamis that we face.  And instead of being overwhelmed by it all, giving up and having  a pity party, Lent is really the time to grasp hold of and pull yourself onto the topmost point of the Rock of Christ, knowing full well that nothing can ever overcome it!  Yes, Paul was right when he said: “We are MORE THAN CONQUERERS in and through Christ our Lord.  Amen

THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH….

Pastor Thomas H. Fox

February 17, 2021: Ash Wednesday

Let us pray: Lord, tonight we come before You with heavy hearts.  Our many sins weigh upon us.  Our lack of true repentance troubles our conscience. So, we come before You to plead for mercy and to be given Your forgiveness for all sins—past, present, and future.  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR FORGIVING LORD!

TEXT:  Luke 18: 9-14

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          46 days.  It is now 46 days until Easter.  Since the great Christian council of Nicea in 321 Christians have been celebrating, marking, the season of Lent which begins tonight on Ash Wednesday.  Over the centuries many customs have arisen to capture our attention and focus better on what Lent means.  It is all about preparing your heart, one-on-one, to meet God.  It is about getting rid of sin and evil by repenting.  Lent is a fine custom of the church.  It is an assist to making our faith real.  The austerity of the spirit in focusing on how to avoid sin and expunge it from our lives is made more “real” through Lent.

          Many believers and even some unbelievers practice the showier sides of Lent.  People like drama.  They like outward indications of God’s blessing upon them—especially if they can feel, experience and have a hand in it all.  Even to the unbeliever this becomes a way of: “hedging their bets” when it comes to God. So, some take great comfort from wearing ashes on their foreheads.  Others abstain from certain foods—giving up a supposed “vice”  for God during Lent.  Even in over-weight America, abstaining from various foods, has become popular.  In a sense, these outward manifestations of Lent have overshadowed the real, core meaning of it all.  For Lent is about repentance.  Saying “No” to sin and “Yes” to Christ.

I

          There is probably no better text on this subject than the one before us.  It is a parable, and earthly story with a heavenly meaning, yet, we can easily imagine it being played out before our very eyes on any given Sunday.  Notice how Luke begins it all: “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told them this parable.”  Has that attitude ever infected you?  If you say: No, then you especially need to take His words to heart.  For “pride goes before the fall.”

          Pharisees were all about: smells, bells, appearances, and looking pious.  This Pharisee thought very highly of himself and self-magnified his faith.  He was into the comparison game.  “God, I thank you that I am not like all other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this (thieving) tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

          This man is so filled with spiritual blindness, born of pride,  that he doesn’t believe he really has any sins to repent of!  The old Texas expression of: all hat and no cattle, fits him to a “T”.  He came to church to show off.  He came to justify himself before God and especially all others.  He fails the repentance test.

II

          Then there is the other fellow, a tax collector (who were notorious thieves).  He doesn’t stand front and center.  He hides in the back.  He believes he is not worthy to come before God.  His conscience troubles him.  His sins weigh heavy upon him.  He has nothing holy to offer God.  All he can do is beat his breast and quietly murmur: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  And he’s right!  That’s all of us.  For “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” 

          Lent and Ash Wednesday are not about engaging in externals.  They are internal.  They are about the internal attitude of the heart.  For if your hands are full of human good intentions they cannot be filled with Godly ones.  Full hands cannot grasp hold of Godly forgiveness.  Christ says as much here: “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

          Tonight that humbling process begins anew.  And the joy over the simple Godly fullness that results will become apparent in your lives—especially 46 days from now so that when Easter dawns you can once more exclaim from the depths  of your soul: He is Risen!  He is risen, indeed!  Amen

THE peace of God which…..

Pastor Thomas H. Fox 

February 14, 2021: Transfiguration Sunday

Let us pray: Dear Savior, on the transfiguration St. Peter blurted out the obvious: “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”  Today we harbor those same thoughts in our hearts!  It is good for our thoughts to be centered upon You, Your divine glory, and the closeness of God’s unseen reality.  It is good for us to know that in a blink of an eye You can and someday will reveal Your goodness and light for all of us to see.  It is good for us to know that we can talk with You in prayer at all times, and nothing can block us from the heavenly bliss that awaits Your faithful.  Today give us the calmness and peace that Transfiguration  brings!  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR GLORIOUS KING!

TEXT:  Mark 9: 2-9

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          I’ve preached on this text for 37 years.  And it still holds my rapt attention.  Most of you know the facts it contains. 1. Shortly before His passion Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with Him to a mountain pinnacle.  2. Suddenly Moses and Elijah are standing there talking with Christ.  3.  They are all glowing, radiant, with heavenly light.  4. Peter and the others are frightened at the sight and rendered momentarily speechless.  5. A cloud envelopes them and God the Father speaks: “This is my son, whom I love.  Listen to Him!”  6. Peter wants this joyous sight to continue forever and talks about building 3 huts so that everyone can remain and drink it all in—forever. 7. After the cloud, it all vanishes in an instant. 8. The disciples are shaken to their core—but it’s a happy, exuberant feeling that they feel in their very bones!

I

          When the ancient church formulated the church year, they picked this text to mark a huge high point before descending into the 40 days of Lent.  Some have termed this a “Messianic Mountaintop.”  It certainly is!  Then it’s back to trudging the trenches with Jesus as He endures the 40 days’ temptation by Satan, culminating with His sufferings, death, and resurrection of holy week.  It’s an image of what we go through during Lent with Christ leading the way.  And afterwards comes Easter with its Mt. Everest Messianic mountaintop.

          Folks, we all need Transfiguration.  We need its truth, its beauty, its hope, its joy.  Our reality is nitty-gritty.  Our reality is one of suffering—physical and spiritual, temptations which make us feel dirty and unworthy, apathy which grinds us down as we seek to follow our Lord, and the tremendous grief and sadness that death brings.  We long for something better.  We long for relief and an uplifting “living in the moment” experience.  We long for some kind of proof that heaven really does await and that God Almighty is close to us and involved in our lives right this minute.  Well, here we have it.

II

          Examine your inner heart.  Down deep you know, you feel, you’re certain that something glorious awaits you and it is o so close.  That longing is for Godly reality.  It is the  hope that does not disappoint.  It keeps us going.  It keeps us fighting Satan and the downward spiral into despair that he seeks to foster in us.  It gets us through the dark days of winter and the drab sameness of life.  My friends, what you see with your eyes and feel with your senses is not the reality God created you for.  No, transfiguration with light, warmth, and the ability to let down and feel completely safe is God’s reality. And here we’re reminded just how close it is—but a tiny hair’s breath away! 

          There’s a good old Anglo Saxon word: dross.  D-r-o-s-s.  It denotes the left-overs when gold is refined in the furnace.  It’s basically worthless, dull, lifeless, and ugly.  Most of our lives are filled with dross.  Human reality is dross.  But through faith our dross yearns to rise up, and show the gold we once contained.  It yearns for eternal meaning and oneness with God that was lost in the Fall into sin.  Christ our transfigured Lord shows us that meaning and purpose right here.  He was the best of the best, sinless, and holy for us.  He won that reality for us on the cross.  And through faith, well, “out of darkness we now have light” His light! 

          When you actually face death and then by grace live on, your viewpoint changes. Believers become more fearless.  The dross of life leaves you with one question: “Lord, if you saved me from it, what more do you now have planned for me?”  What reality awaits me here and what glorious mysteries will Your guiding hand reveal?  Since His reality is o so close by, a hairs breath, well, knowing that puts a newfound spring in your step.  And so with confidence you boldly step into life with hope over the certainness of Transfiguration—your transfiguration!

          These are the reasons why I love Transfiguration Sunday.  Because this is REAL reality, My reality, and most importantly GOD’S REALITY!  YES LORD, IT IS GOOD FOR US TO BE HERE!  Amen

THE PEACE OF GOD…..

Pastor Thomas H. Fox