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St. James' Glastonbury
Episcopal Church

Message from Rev. Matt Handi - August 2, 2023

Many of us celebrate the ringing in of the new year.

And with the new year we sometimes imagine Father Time ushering out the old with Baby New Year bringing in the anticipation and excitement of the coming year.

It is a time when we can be full of expectations: new hope, new starts, a fresh outlook on life, etc.

And yet, there is also a looking back. We reflect on the previous year and years, perhaps remembering when certain loved ones were still with us; the memory of them celebrating the new year with us remains close to our hearts.

In fact, the month of January is named for the Roman god, Janus. Janus was the god of, according to Wikipedia, all beginnings, gates, transitions, time, choices, duality, doorways, passages, and endings.

Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one looking backward, one looking into the future and the other forever focused on the past.

And that is what I am reminded of this afternoon when I think of the Transfiguration story. It is the duality of the future and the past occurring almost simultaneously that piques my interest for we see Jesus in his risen form and immediately after, God calls down upon the mountain just as he did when Jesus was baptized.

Peter, James, and John were able to witness the future promised through their faith in Christ and the promises made through baptism.

Because through our baptism, we are marked as God’s own forever and through our faith, we are promised the shining glory of God’s kingdom amongst us.

And having been baptized we can look back to the covenant we made with God, namely that we will proclaim the word and live by example the Good News, that we will seek and serve God in all persons, we will strive for justice and peace, and we will protect the beauty of creation.

And from that covenant is born faith. Faith that promises us an eternal, unending kingdom where we will know no heartache, only bliss; no violence, only peace; no degrading climate, only nature as God intends. All of that will be someday and someday we will see the face of Jesus, dazzling in its beauty.

Within our baptismal covenant is our promise to serve as God’s people; within that covenant is also the hopeful look forward to the eventual arrival of God’s shining kingdom.

A kingdom for all peoples.