For Transfiguration Sunday
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The Immediate Word
Chris Keating

Cloud Theology

Exodus 24:12-18; Matthew 17:1-9
Imagine Transfiguration Sunday a few decades from now. The congregation -- half of whom are robots -- gather for worship. Two ushers quip about finding signs of intelligent life.
     A liturgist reads the story of Jesus’ transfiguration, while worshipers adjust virtual reality devices which place them on the summit with the disciples. Light floods their eyes, and they are overcome by the fear that also fills Peter, James, and John.
     There on the mountain they see Elijah, Moses, and maybe even Watson, IBM’s supercomputer. Meanwhile, Pastor ART -- a cutting-edge cyborg who just graduated from Princeton -- begins the sermon. He’s a bit soft-spoken for some, but ART (short for Artificial Reformed Theologian) is programmed to produce quality sermons guaranteed to challenge but not offend, enthrall but never bore.
     Far-fetched? Maybe not as much as you think.
     As AI develops, the world will face economic, moral, and even theological questions never considered. Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly reflects on what he calls the “serious spiritual question” we may be overlooking: “If you create other things that think for themselves, a serious theological disruption will occur.”
     It’s possible to consider God as the prototypical cloud server whose glory emerges in unimagined and dazzling ways. On the Mount of Transfiguration, the cloud envelopes the disciples and changes Jesus, preparing him for the passion that awaits. God draws nearer to human beings, calling them to deeper faithfulness.
     We may shudder at the pace and scope of technological advances, and perhaps even shake our heads as if to say “That will never happen.” But as Peter, James, and John discover, sometimes it is better to never say never....
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On Turning On The Lights In The Church Building

Whenever I read from the book of Exodus, especially a text which includes a visit by Moses to the mountaintop to be in the presence of God, I get an image in my mind of Charlton Heston in the movie version of The Ten Commandments. I'll bet you have that problem too, don't you? It doesn't matter if you were born a decade or two since that movie was first released. It gets a lot of play on television, especially during "holy seasons" of the year like Easter.
     The movie, which I must confess I actually enjoy, takes a few liberties with the biblical text. I guess Moses and the other biblical authors would not make very good screen writers. One of the problems with the image of Charlton Heston in that role is that it takes away the mystery of the encounter that Moses has with God. Oh, it is supposed to look mysterious in the movie. The make-up people have virtually soaked Heston's face in white powder in an attempt to give it a holy shine. They've blow-dried his wig so high and wide that he could easily play the role of the brother of the bride of Frankenstein. But the image is far short of anything remotely mysterious.
     Today's story, though, is full of mystery and the unknown. Moses climbs to the top of Mount Sinai. It is covered with clouds. The clouds hide whatever is up there from the people below. God calls to Moses out of the cloud and reveals God's presence to him. The appearance of the glory of the Lord is like "a devouring fire." Like the images in Ezekiel, this experience is an intensely puzzling and unusual one. Moses enters the cloud and remains there forty days and forty nights....
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Mark Ellingsen

Revealing the divinity of Christ

Transfiguration is a celebration of God’s glory and how that glory is revealed in Christ when he was transfigured. The festival was observed as early as the sixth century in Eastern Christianity, but did not become a festival in the Catholic Church and its Protestant heirs until just 70 years prior to the Reformation. Sermons in line with this festival will aim to focus the flock on coming to appreciate a bigger, more majestic picture of God and Christ than what they brought to church. Assurance will be provided that this majestic God overcomes all evil. All the lessons considered collectively also link Christ and the gospel to the Law (the ten commandments)....
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Peter Andrew Smith

Down from the Mountain

Matthew 17:1-9

Jessica took the tray of dishes from in front of Martha and put them on the cart.
     “Thank you,” Martha said.
     “You’re very welcome. How was everything today?”
     “It was lovely. Please tell Keith that I appreciated his homemade jam on the bread. It made the lunch extra special today.”
     “I’ll let him know.” Jessica paused. “If I see some of the jam left over would you like me to put it to one side for you?”...
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott


For many people, testimonies in which someone relates the story of how they came to Christianity, still seem to be one of the most powerful means of hearing the Christian message. There's something about the sincerity of the person who stands to speak, which usually shines through their words. And to hear the words of someone who has had a profound religious experience can be very moving....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Mary Kay Eichelman

A Peep Hole

Object: A picture covered with another piece of paper that has a small square cut out of it. (a "peak hole")
I have something to show you today BUT... you only get to see a little bit of my picture -- a peep hole.  (Show picture covered over with piece of paper with a small square cut out.)  Does it make you wonder what the whole picture might look like?...
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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