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The last couple of weeks have been tumultuous times around the globe. The media has brought us vivid pictures of the events that have been and are unfolding in various nations in the Middle East and in northern Africa. It seems that the events of revolution are like a virus, spreading from one nation to another…Tunisia, Egypt, Libya.
We see the pictures on the news. We hear the interviews of leaders about to topple. We hear the bravado of the street protestors. There is violence in the streets as government forces try to quell the protesters and their lofty demands that long time leaders step down.
My natural reaction to these events is one of wonder. Why has it taken so long for people to raise their voices in protest? What was it about their life situation that gave despots the opportunity to exercise the iron fisted rule with which they ruled? What is the story behind the news?
Perhaps the story behind the news of our day is really depicted in the faces of the thousands of people who are now gathering in city squares to say…“enough.” The faces are all different, each unique. No doubt the stories in each life is also unique though when added to the long list of other unique stories of their fellow countrymen, there is enough that is similar so that an atmosphere of camaraderie has been established.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear the stories these people have to tell?
There is a program on Public Television that I really enjoy. It is called “Antiques Road Show." If you've ever watched any of this program you will hear them talk about something called "provenance." What they mean by this word is that there is a verifiable and documented story behind the item that is being examined. I remember one of the stories had to do with a blanket. This blanket was very old and was worth a certain amount of money. But when the evaluator heard the story behind this blanket and how it had been a gift to the great, great grandfather of the person who brought the blanket, the value skyrocketed. This person had documents and pictures in which the presenter of the blanket turned out to be a famous Indian chief from our country’s past. These are great stories!
Matthew 17:1-9 is an amazing account of an event that happened to Jesus and one that was witnessed by three of Jesus’ disciples. On the mountain of transfiguration the glory of the Father’s presence was made known as Jesus was ‘clouded’ in brilliant light as he talked with Moses and Elijah. It certainly was a Kodak moment and a photo of the event certainly would be worth its weight in gold! As it turned out, it became a provenance kind of moment for Peter, James and John even though they were told… “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” We don’t hear much about these disciples saying much about this event in other scriptures except that Peter makes mention of another part of that experience in 2nd Peter 1:16-18. There he mentions what is more pertinent to this article. On the mountain these three disciples not only saw the transfiguration of Jesus but they also heard the voice of God when God says “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
I’m inclined that this was a defining moment for the disciples because when we listen to Jesus it is a defining moment for each of us as well. Listening to Jesus shapes us, it transforms us, and it molds our stories. When we listen to Jesus, the story of Jesus continues. It never comes to an end. This is why it is so important for us to share our stories with one another, especially our children. A couple of Sunday evenings ago those of you who attended the prayer and praise service had an opportunity to hear some of those stories.
In a close community such as ours we tend to think that we know each other’s story. Perhaps that is true as far as our biological history is concerned. However there is more to our life story than who our father and mother are. We have a whole other story when it comes to our walk with God.
What's your story when it comes to knowing Jesus as your savior? What's the provenance of your life that gives your life immense value? Each of us has our own "faith provenance." we need to know it and be able to tell others about it and to be able to celebrate it. I say this because in all reality, the provenance of Jesus continues to grow and his transfiguration continues to be made known in each of our lives as we are transformed by his love and grace until we become more and more the people of God we were always intended to be.
I challenge you, Bozeman CRC, to be a people who know your story, who share your story and who celebrate your story because this ultimately will bring glory to God and your story becomes a priceless treasure for everyone who hears it.