Fifteen years ago, I travelled to Newmarket to preach for the first time at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. It was Transfiguration Sunday and I was preaching for Call. I knew that the following Sunday the Congregation would gather to vote on whether or not to call me as their pastor. I’ve been serving as the Pastor of Holy Cross for almost fifteen years and over the years the people of Holy Cross have nourished and challenged me and transformed me into a pastor. What follows is a transcript of the sermon I preached on that long ago Transfiguration Sunday. Old sermons reveal our old selves. While my theology has changed over the years and I would not preach this sermon in the same way now, I treasure the memory of that hopeful candidate for call. To the people of Holy Cross: Thank-you for transfiguring me! Shalom!
When I was a teenager, I was always in a hurry. I wanted to see and do everything there was to see and do. When I was nineteen, I knew that I just had to get out there and see what the world had to offer. So with nothing more than a backpack, a three month Euro-rail pass, and eight-hundred dollars in travellers cheques, I boarded an airplane bound for Amsterdam.
I was searching for adventure and I was convinced that Europe held the excitement I was looking for. Inside my backpack was the book that would make it all possible. Europe on Ten Dollars a Day. I was determined to make my eight-hundred dollars stretch the length and breadth of Europe. I was going to see and do it all! It wasn’t easy. In fact when I look back on it now, it seems like such a lot of hard work. Up early in the morning sightseeing all day long. Meeting new people. Fighting my way through the crowds of tourists. Searching for cheap places to eat and sleep.
After two months of travelling from one European city to the next, I just couldn’t face one more castle or museum. I figured that it was time to get away from the cities so I headed for the Alps. After a long train ride from Munich, I arrived in the Swiss town of Interlaken. There I boarded a coggle train that would take me to the Alpine village of Grunewald. The train was filled with tourists anxious to fill their rolls of film with pictures of the mountains, but it was overcast and there were no mountains to be seen. Continue reading →