The Transfiguration of Christ by Duccio di Buoninsegna, d. 1319

I love this medieval icon – Jesus with Elijah on one side, Moses on the other, and the awed disciples below. Most of all I love how the gold communicates the glory in which Jesus is transfigured, the glory of being God-with-us, and as will be seen most clearly at the cross, God-for-us.

As I write this in Kingston, the funeral service for one of my formative theological professors at Presbyterian College is about to begin in Montreal. The Rev. Dr. Joseph McLelland was I believe the youngest professor ever appointed by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Though a generation apart, I felt a bond to him as a fellow Hamiltonian, and it was a great joy later to count ‘Joe’ and Audrey as members of the congregation I served. His area of exploration was Theology and Philosophy of Religion, and explore he did, with creativity and courage. But beyond the college classes, what I remember best was the first sermon I heard him preach – it was on the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17), and how the moment of deep mysticism and joyful clarity upon the mountaintop was followed immediately and intentionally by Jesus going down to heal and embrace suffering humanity. It was at that moment that I began to understand the way of  Christ, and of the Christian.

If you are in the Kingston area, join us for worship this Sunday morning. There is free parking along the streets, and in a public lot off Queen Street just behind the church. During the service there is a nursery for infants and a programme for children. Have a look at the inside of the Order of Service, and consider each announcement as a personal invitation to grow in Christian faith, community and service. In particular, note the Tuesday pancake supper, the beginning of a winter DVD study series, and an ecumenical Ash Wednesday Service, 7 p.m.

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