Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem,

As we come together on Super Bowl Sunday and celebrate the The Rev. Suzanne Trump, Associate Pastor of Formation and CompassionSouper Bowl of Caring we rejoice in our many blessings.  We will share soup to raise money for those who are in need of food in our local community and beyond. Perhaps you will be attending or hosting a Super Bowl party or maybe just a quiet night at home.

Probably because my team suffered a poor loss to leave them out of the Super Bowl, I am thinking less about the Super Bowl and more about how divided we are in so many aspects of life.  And I am not talking about the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce romance that has sparked incredible feelings of isn’t love grand or had enough already.  I am talking about the big issues that are dividing us in our community and the world.

People on one side of an issue will not engage in discussion with people on the other side of the issue. Slowly those who were in the middle seem to be fading away and the divide between the two sides just increases exponentially. Pick a topic, the upcoming presidential election, immigration issues, the size of the new parking garage in the city of Bethlehem, affordable housing, church denominations, and on and on.  We have more and more that divides us each day – well at least it seems that way in our secular culture.

In the Christian Church our unity comes from Jesus Christ and this week we find ourselves in the middle of the Gospel of Mark with a preview of what is to come.  Jesus and his disciples travel up a mountain and there Jesus is transfigured, becomes dazzling white, and the disciples do not know what to do.  Build some tents and stay on the mountain is suggested but Jesus says no.  Go back down and tell no one. 

It is a moment to share what will happen.  After death there is resurrection.  As we confess our belief in Jesus Christ who was tortured, died, and was buried will rise again in a glorious resurrection. That is what unifies us with Christians of every time and place. When all seems lost and Jesus is dead and buried, the most amazing and unexplainable happens. Light, dazzling precious light of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I believe society is approaching or at a stage where all hope is lost, unity is dead and buried and despair has destroyed every ounce of hope. As we enter the season of Lent may this glimpse of what is to come bring us hope.  May the dazzling white of Jesus Christ shining on the mountain top remind us of who we are and what brings us together. May we move to the middle in our society. May we listen and engage, may we offer a bridge between the divides.

Knowing that our call as God’s beloved children is to share love and forgiveness, that we are united by our humanity and not our differences.  May we seek to reconcile, to be peace makers, to advance peace and understanding.  May we bring about the change that breaks down walls and attitudes and judgments and be the voice of compassion and light.

Blessings to each of you,