PASTOR RON'S WEEKLY MEMO

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“Mountain Top Moments”

 

Have you ever had a “mountain top moment,” an experience of the Holy that completely consumed your attention and inspired your conviction concerning the presence and the power of God?  I can remember such moment when I was hiking with a group of friends in the backcountry of Crater Lake in Oregon.  Our destination was a place called Anderson Falls.  I remember the moment when we arrived at the base of the falls and were so completely overcome with the beauty and splendor that surrounded us that no one dared to even speak.  We simply drifted apart from our hiking companions without saying a word.  Each one of us knew that this moment was holy and each of us responded in their own way.

I remember taking my shoes off in recognition that this was, indeed, holy ground.  I likewise, remember seeing the face of a friend who was so moved by what he was seeing that tears were flowing down his cheeks.  Decades later, that friend and I were reunited for a few moments by a phone call.  Even though we had lost touch with each other over the years, a simple reference to Anderson Falls brought back a flood of mutual memories and feelings.  There was no question in the mind of either one of us that what we had experienced was holy.

The Celtic spiritual tradition has a term for such moments.  They are known as “thin places,” the places where the holy and the human come so close together that they almost seem to touch.  That was indeed the feeling that I experienced at Anderson Falls.  I felt as if the presence of God was so close that I could almost reach out and touch it.

In worship this week, we will be considering the “thin place” that is described in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 9: 2-9).  This account, known as the “transfiguration of Jesus,” is one that describes in vivid detail an experience on the mountain top that transfigured Jesus (changed his outward appearance) while, at the same time, transformed his disciples (changed their inward understanding).  The “thin places” we experience in our lives hold the potential to do that—to change our inward understanding of the presence and power of God’s Spirit at work in our lives.

As you prepare for worship this week, I would like to invite you to reflect a bit upon your own experience of the holy, those moments in which you felt the presence of God in a vivid and powerful way.  In what ways have those moments served to shape your understanding of God?  In what ways have these “thin place” experiences served to change or transform your perspective of the ways in which God might be at work in your life?

In her book, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” Annie Dillard writes, “Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will see or sense them.  The least that we can do is to try to be there.”

That is, I believe, excellent spiritual advice.  The beauty and grace of God’s presence and power is taking place all around us.  The very least we can do is to try to be there, to be fully present to the moments when the realm of the holy and the human come so close together that they almost seem to touch.  In other words, “Don’t you dare miss it!”

This is advice that I would also offer in regards to our online worship celebration this coming Sunday.  I am looking forward to it!

Grace & Peace,

Ron

Rev. Ron Dunn

A Reminder that we will be having a “Zoom Fellowship” time at 11:00 a.m. this coming Sunday.  Please feel free to join us by clicking HERE.

​NEWCASTLE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

P.O. Box 235
Newcastle, CA 95658
916-663-2250

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