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Stand Up and Don’t Be Afraid

Matthew 17:1-9

Just as Peter said to Jesus when he witnessed the transfiguration on the mountain, “it is good for us to be here”, it is good for us too to experience and celebrate the presence of God among us. Sometimes that presence comes to us through the appreciation of nature, sometimes indeed on a mountain top and sometimes when we gather to celebrate special occasions.

Yesterday at the Vodafone Centre in Auckland we witnessed the ordination of Bishop Michael Gielen. It was a wonderful experience of the Church gathered. He is taking on a big responsibility, but I was encouraged by Bishop Pat Dunn, Bishop of Auckland, saying to Michael to just be himself and not to be afraid or timid in the exercise of his ministry. Such wise words for someone just starting out to hear and take on board. They are wise words for all of us to hear. I was moved by the prayer and song calling on the Holy Spirit to be present just before Michael was ordained. I felt the tangible presence of God at that moment.

Jesus in todays Gospel tells his disciples to stand up and not to be afraid. And when they raised their eyes, they saw no one but only Jesus. Jesus directs those same words to us in the responsibilities we face and take on. How encouraging to be able to look up and see only Jesus who shows himself to us in mountain top experiences but also when we are faced with the challenges of life and have to come down the mountain.

Listen to Psalm 120 ‘I Lift My Eyes to the Mountains’ from ‘Holy Land’.

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