Summary: This sermon focuses on the transforming power of God on our lives and on our duty to proclaim it as eyewitnesses.
Friends Run and Smith Creek Church of the Brethren
February 10, 2013
“The Glory in His Bosom
That Transfigures You and Me”
16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (The Holy Bible: New International Version, 2 Peter 1:16-21 . ©1984 International Bible Society. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996).
Life is filled with strange twists and turns which are not always easy to understand. As people live their lives from infancy through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood through death, few, if any ever end their lives in the way that they thought they would.
Some young girls dream of being married and working at home as full time mothers and housewives.
Others dream of careers in which they will be successful, earning a decent living while helping their husbands to provide for their families.
Still others want nothing to do with men or children.
On the other side of the fence, some young boys may dream of being president, or being wealthy by the age of 30, or maybe even just being the preacher of an old country church.
While other boys dream of families with lots of children.
Still others want nothing to do with what many of us would consider to be a normal life.
Nevertheless, when the time comes to die, I doubt that many men or women as they take their last breaths say to themselves, my life has been perfect, I have achieved all of my dreams, I have no regrets.
As an example, I doubt that as a boy, John Brown would ever have imagined that during his 59th year of life, he would be hanged for treason against the United States.
But the twists and turns of life led him do die such a death.
You see, John Brown, was an abolitionist in the years prior to the American Civil War. He wasn’t born an abolitionist, but his life made him into one.
John Brown’s father was a strict Calvinist minister who believed, like many Brethren believed, that slavery was a sin.
At the age of 12, John found himself working with a man who owned a 12 year old slave. The man treated John very well, but he regularly beat the slave boy with a shovel.
When he was 33, John attended the funeral of Elijah Lovejoy, the publisher of an anti-slavery newspaper, who was gunned down in the street by a mob of pro-slavery men.
During the funeral, John rose and vowed that he would end slavery once and for all.
When he was 54, John moved to Kansas where he tried to get the residents of the Kansas territory to vote to become a free state instead of a slave state. He was a major player in the mini-civil war which broke out in the Kansas territory. He even personally ordered the murder of five pro-slavery settlers.
At age 57, John Brown attacked two pro-slavery homesteads in Missouri. He liberated eleven slaves and saw them safely to freedom in Canada.
Six months before his 60th birthday, John led a group of 14 white men and four slaves to attack the federal arsenal at Harpers’ Ferry, in what was then, Virginia.
They held ten hostages for three days before Col. Robert E. Lee led a group of Marines against the arsenal and captured John Brown and his men.
Some thought that John Brown was a crazy man. Others thought that he was a national hero. Doubtless, by today’s standards, John Brown would have been known as a terrorist.
Finally, his violent life was ended when his neck was snapped at the end of a rope in Charles Town.
Yet, by the time of his execution, John Brown had become a martyr to the cause of the abolition of slavery. (The American Experience: John Brown’s Holy War. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/brown/) Some even claim that his raid was a direct cause of the Civil War.