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February 14 Minister's Message

“Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain…And Jesus was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling bright, such as no one on earth could brighten them…Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” From Mark 9

When I was a little kid, long before Disney grew up in Marceline, Missouri and made his way to Mickey Mouse fame, The Greatest Show on Earth was the circus. When Barnum and Bailey came to town, they hosted a fair with elephant rides. Somewhere in a childhood photo album in those little plastic sleeves, there’s a photo of my best friend Darlene and me. We’re sitting atop a circus elephant in our summer shorts, waving at our nervous parents down below.

We humans love the sensational, the fantastical. We watch social media clips about the last words of husbands who shout, “Honey, watch this”, just before skiing off the third story of the house.

The world loves to give us a spectacle. Spectacles promise to make us happy and give us hope for the future. They demand something from us in return. They want our undivided devotion and attention. The spectacles of the world make us happy for a hot minute, but that happiness is always temporary. When the spectacle disappoints, we get discouraged, angry, even depressed. Alternatively, the spectacle of God brings us joy for eternity.

God knows that we humans settle for what the world thinks is fantastic to temporarily numb us from our troubles and the considerable challenges of our planet. God wants us to know that God’s spectacle is so much bigger than this. God promises us so much more than a moment’s entertainment, however spectacular that may be. God promises and delivers an alternative way of being in the world.

The season of Lent is now upon us. The practices of Lent invite us to consider this question, “To whom or what will we give our devoted attention? The traditional practice of giving something up for Lent is not about punishing ourselves by giving up something we love, but rather about refusing to punish ourselves any longer by clinging to those false spectacles of the world that cannot give us life. They offer us temporary pleasure, but they can’t be our God.

This season of Lent, let go of whatever spectacle of the world has captured your heart. That might be hard at first. We love our phones and the news and binge watching our favorite shows. I’m curious though, about what might open for our future when we stop settling for the temporary happiness of climbing elephants, when we can experience God’s spectacular, eternal joy.

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland

Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach

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