What this means for us is that many members of Christ Church, Mobile never pray this prayer or hear these readings! Why? Last Pentecost is always "Joe Cain Day," of course.
So, I hope that even if you don't join us on Sunday for spectacular music and a pretty darn good sermon, you will read the lessons and say the prayers that are made available to you in this e-mail.
The direct experience of God on the mountaintop is the consistent theme of all our readings. In them, God establishes and delivers his truth and the commandments expressing his will. The dazzling light of God's presence infuses the faces of the ones receiving God's message, and they are changed.
The reading from Exodus recounts Moses' ascent to God on Mount Sinai. God promises him that he will be given tablets of stone inscribed with the law and instruction for how to live. What we see is Moses entering the cloud that tops the mountain, within which "the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire [...] in the sight of the people of Israel." Moses remained there for forty days and nights.
The gospel reading is Matthew's account of the Transfiguration. After Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah, and after Jesus foretells his death and resurrection and then tells his disciples that his followers must also take up their cross and find their lives by losing them, Jesus takes Peter and James and John with him up a high mountain. Once there, Jesus' face shines like the sun and his clothes become dazzling white and a voice from the cloud says, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" Peter affirms the truth of this in his eyewitness account in our reading from his second letter.
What does this mean for us? As we walk through the challenges and temptations of the Lenten desert, we can draw strength from God's presence and promises. We can listen to the voice of God in the teaching of Jesus. We can know that at the end of this journey the fullness of God's glory, the "morning star," will be revealed.
If you are planning on coming to Christ Church on Sunday morning, don't forget your purple pass to get around the barricades. There will be parking allowed on Church Street during our service.
If I don't see you Sunday, have a happy and safe Mardi Gras. And I will see you on Ash Wednesday.