The Marathon of Service

Ordinary Time
February 11, 2018

Scripture Reading: Mark 9:2-9

As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. –Mark 9:9

The above scripture, written in hindsight thirty or forty years after the event, seems fairly matter-of-fact. Can we imagine what was running through the minds and emotions of Peter, James, and John? I am not sure how I would respond to the transfiguration. I probably would need to ponder it for a while before talking about it at all. How much had Jesus prepared his disciples for his pending arrest, death, and resurrection? How much of what he told them did they understand or comprehend? According to Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he stayed in Arabia for three years trying to get a handle on his experience on the road to Damascus.

We live in a world ripe with instant gratification, and it frustrates us when our computer buffers for a few seconds much less having to wait for days to witness to an amazing occurrence. Peter’s offer to build altars today would be posted on Facebook in real-time.

Many years ago one of my Sunday school teachers said he just hated to sing the ponderous old song God is working his purpose out. The music is slow;  its repetition soon becomes dreary. Eventually, it dawned on my teacher that the hymn is trying to remind us we are not running a sprint, we are in a marathon. Each step we take creates a cadence all its own that is the beautiful music accompanying us toward our final goal when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God.

God is working his purpose out,
as year succeeds to year,
God is working his purpose out,
and the time is drawing near;
nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.*

Prayer: Lord, run with us; help us stay in shape spiritually, mentally, and physically; keep our pace strong and determined; give us the joy of small progress as well as great; and welcome us at the finish line when our race is complete. Amen.

First verse of God is working his purpose out by Arthur Campbell Ainger, see at