Carol Wehrheim tells the story of Jesus's encounter with Moses, Elijah, and the voice of God on the mountaintop. The Time with Children in the worship service at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, NJ, focuses on telling Bible stories to the congregation. Storytellers from the church bring these stories to life with dramatic flair.
Two weeks ago I told you a story about Jesus when he was walking by the lake and he asked some people who were fishing to come join him and travel with him so he could teach them and they could help him do God’s work. Remember Simeon and Andrew, who were brothers, and James and John who were also brothers? They left with Jesus. They left their boats behind, they left their fishing nets behind, and they went with Jesus. Jesus called eight more people to come with him. They weren’t all fishermen but they were all kinds of people. They all came and they followed him too.
But on this day, this particular day, Jesus said to Simeon and James and John - I always wonder why he didn’t ask Andrew, Simeon’s brother, but he didn’t and I don’t know why - He asked Simeon, James and John to come with him up the mountain. So they did, leaving all the others behind. They got to the top of the mountain and Jesus looked different. His clothes were dazzling white, whiter than anything they had seen before. I think it was kind of like when the sun shines on the snow and it’s so bright you can hardly see. I think it was even brighter than that. And when they looked again, there were Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus. Now Moses and Elijah lived a long, long time before Jesus. How strange.
Simeon and James and John were terrified. They didn’t know what to make of all of this.
Finally, Peter said, “Let us build three shelters - three booths - one for each of you.”
And as he said that, a great cloud came over the mountain and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, I love him very much. Listen to him.” Then the cloud left and Jesus and James and John and Simeon started down the mountain.
But Jesus said to them, “Don’t tell anyone what you saw or heard on that mountain. It’s not time for anyone else to know about this.” Here they had seen this amazing thing happen, and they couldn’t tell anybody. How strange this was.
Let’s pray together. God of mystery and love, we are thankful that we can come here even on the coldest of days to worship you and to learn what Jesus said so that we can listen to him and can follow him. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.
Storyteller: Carol Wehrheim
Text: Matthew 17:1-9
Carol Wehrheim is a member of Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton, NJ, where she is Clerk of Session. She is the author of Getting It Together, Giving Together, and The Baptism of Your Child: A Book for Presbyterian Families as well as the three volumes of Feasting on the Word Children’s Sermons (Bible stories from the lectionary for telling in worship).