Transfiguration (February 27, 2022)

Lectionary Texts

This Sunday’s texts are about God’s glory shining in us, and especially in Christ. In Exodus 34.29-35 Moses returns from the mountain where he has received the Ten Commandments, his face shining with light so bright from his face-to-face encounter with God that he wears a veil.

Psalm 99 urges us to worship at God’s holy mountain, meaning to center our worship in God’s law of love. Leading the Hebrews in the Exodus, God speaks from the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire.

In 2 Corinthians 3.12 – 4.6 Paul, recalling Moses’ veil, says we wear a veil of misunderstanding when we read scripture without faith—that is, without the willingness to be changed. Meanwhile God’s glory shines in each of us as in Moses.

In Luke 9. 28-36 Jesus shines with God’s glory on the mountaintop (like Moses) and talks with Moses and Elijah (the law-giver and the prophet) about his “exodus.” Jesus is the “pillar of light” who leads us to life.

Guiding Thoughts

In Luke 9.18-27 Peter says Jesus is the Messiah, but Jesus radically changes his definition of that expectation: he will not be a victorious commander, but suffer and die. He tells his listeners to go the way of the cross. Having surrendered his life to God, he has in a sense already died and been raised. The Transfiguration is a resurrection appearance before it happens! It is the resurrected Christ who appears on the mountain, shining with the light of eternity, speaking with Moses & Elijah, who have also died. They talk of his “departure”— his approaching death. The greek word Luke uses for “departure” is “Exodus:” In his death Jesus leads us us to freedom. Jesus is the pillar of light that leads us in our Exodus journey. Therefore it is essential that we follow, that we “listen to him” (Lk. 9.35). Because he is already dead and raised, it is true not only that the crucified one was resurrected on the First Day, but that on Good Friday the Resurrected one was crucified. The Transfiguration story prepares us to enter Lent, journeying deeper into death and resurrection.

Call to Worship


1.
Leader: God of light, such lovely light, we awaken to you.
All: You shine in us with beauty and grace.
Christ, light of the world, you shimmer in us all.
All people are held in the glow of your grace;
all people are radiant with your glory.
Holy Spirit, flame of heaven, you gleam in us to enlighten the world.
Shine in us, that we may bear the beams of your love to all the world,
in the name and the company of the risen Christ. Amen.


2. Adapted from Psalm 99
Leader: The Holy One Reigns! Let the people tremble!
All: The Holy One is great! Holy is God!
Praise the Holy One our God, and worship at God’s holy mountain.
For the Holy One our God is holy.
Mighty Ruler, lover of justice, you have established equity.
You have brought forth righteousness and justice.
You led your people and spoke to them in the pillar of cloud.
Alleluia! God of love, lead us by your light,
transform us by your grace, that we may truly follow Christ. Alleluia!


3. (May also be used as a response/ affirmation)
Leader: God of glory, you create us with light.
You fashion us out of glory, and it shines in our faces.
All: We worship you in awe, and we seek your presence among us.
Christ, you are the glory of God, the light of the world.
You are the fulfillment of the law and prophets.
We turn to you to teach us, to heal us, to re-make us,
so that we will again shine with the glory of your image.
Holy Spirit, you are the light of grace within us.
Each of us is a pillar of fire, shining with the power of your love.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us
from one degree of glory to another, by your grace. Alleluia!


4.
Leader: God, you have rescued us from the power of darkness
and delivered us into the Realm of your beloved Son.
All: We give thanks that you have enabled us
to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
Light of the World, shine upon us, and grant us your grace;
Strengthen us with your glorious power.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of glory, Christ shone upon the mountaintop. Cast the brilliance of your gospel into our hearts, that Christ may shine in us in all we do. Amen.2.
God of love, your Word is made flesh, your law fulfilled and the prophets revealed in Christ. Your light shines among us. Speak, for we are listening. Amen.

3.
God of love, your Christ stands radiant among us, and in his light we see anew. He is the pillar of fire for our Way, the light for our path. We open our hearts to your Spirit, that we might hear your living Word in our worship and in our lives, and be transformed from one degree of glory to another by your grace. Amen.

4.
God of Light, help us to see you; help us to hear. We are asleep; our eyes are dim; there is so much that we fear and desire that we do not easily see clearly what is before us. Shine the light of your Word upon us. Awaken us to your grace. We open our hearts to the presence and the voice of your Beloved Son. Grant by your Spirit that we may listen to him. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

1.
Pastor: The grace of God be with you.
All: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Loving God, you have created us with light,
with the radiance of love and the splendor of your presence.
It shines in our faces and glows in our hearts.
But we have veiled your light, and covered over your glory.
We have dimmed your love and darkened your presence within us.
Forgive us.
Remove the coverings that hide your light in us.
Warm us again by your Spirit, and rekindle the light of your grace within us,
that we may shine with the image of Christ, your Beloved,
and in Christ’s power radiate your love as pillars of light.
SILENT PRAYERTHE WORD OF GRACE

2.
God, for the ways in which your light shines in us, we give you thanks.
[silent prayer…]
For the ways in which we hide that light, we ask forgiveness and healing.
[Silent prayer…]
God of grace, we give thanks that you forgive our sin entirely,
and lead us from darkness to light, from death to life,
in the grace of your Christ Jesus. Amen.

Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.
         God of all Creation, we trust in you. Love is your light, and mercy is your glory.
         Christ Jesus, word of God made flesh, light of the world, God’s Beloved, in you we see God’s glory, and in you we see our own true glory. Your love is light for our path, and your love is our path.
         Holy Spirit, light of God in us, we give you our hearts, that we may always accompany you in your journey of justice and liberation, that we may always wonder, that we may always listen. Light of love, lead us, and we will follow. Amen.

2.
       We love and trust in in God, Holy Trinity, creator of all that is and all that is to come.
       We love and trust in Jesus Christ, the Chosen One of God, Light of the World, fulfillment of the law and prophets, and the One who leads us in our exodus from death to life, from bondage to freedom, from sleep to wakefulness, from exile to the present moment. We follow Christ in the Way of the Cross: the way of compassion, justice, and non-violent self-giving, for the sake of the healing of the world.
       We are empowered by the Holy Spirit, united as the Body of Christ, set free by God’s perfect forgiveness, and drawn by the mystery of resurrection and the light of eternal life. Christ, illumine our path, that by your light we may be light for the world. Amen.

3.
Jesus, you shine with the light of eternal life; therefore we trust in you. In your love you fulfill the law and the prophets; so we listen to you. You proclaim the Way of the Cross; and we follow you. You lead us in exodus from death to life; therefore we follow you. You face your life and your death with the light of resurrection; therefore we open our heart to you, that we too may shine with the light of God’s love, for the sake of the healing of the world. Amen.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

Light of Christ, shine on me.
May I behold your beauty,
trust your grace,
and listen for your voice.
Light of Christ, shine in me,
that I may be radiant with your love,
in this moment and to eternal life.
Amen.

Readings

(Poetry by Steve Garnaas-Holmes)


Light

You do not need to fetch it or make it.
         It is in you.

The chaos out there roars, so dark,
         but sit still and listen:
         
“Let there be light” speaks in your darkness.
         Let it be.

Let it become you. Fill you.
         Ageless, it claims you.

Calm, unworried by what it falls on,
         it radiates peace.

Let it shine in you,
         a simple lamp by the window,

before you bear it
         out into the world
         that needs it so badly.


The Light Does Not Insist

Even on the darkest winter days
light reaches in,
gently entering my dimmest rooms:
neither hesitant nor brash,
simply offering itself
with no mind to all that is opaque,
all that distorts,
transfiguring the room.
and the air in the room.

I, too,
reach in toward that gentle light,
not anxious or forceful, that calmly glows
and changes everything.


The Jug

You are walking a path before dawn
there are others
you are carrying a large ancient jug

Maybe clay it is light it is leaking
you hold it wounded to your chest
how soon will it run out? will they see?

You try to hold it all together
the light and illimitable burden
the hollows and failings and ill-fitting pieces

It is bleeding brightly
the hand of the sun on a tree
light poured out at your feet

The dimness is pregnant
the way is immersed
you can see they can see

You hug the jar weeping
hurrying sweating
nothing stops it from spilling away

You sense a surrender a death a defeat
the jug has collapsed and disappeared
light falling from your hands

Why do you weep? why are you afraid?
did you not know
that your only purpose here is

to shed light to shed light to shed light


Mantle of Light

The evening light settles like snow on everything,
giving new shape to the gate beside the road,
and the people standing in the gate,
whose faces are of molten gold,
and whose hands are flocks of birds,
in which the hand and the light turn
at the same time, as if speaking to each other.
We are frescoes, perfected while the light is still wet.
Trees are poured down out of light
into ground that does not resist.
Their twigs bend almost imperceptibly under their yoke.
The air is so thick you like to move your hand through it.
In this light everything is a child,
or an angel, and even the darkness believes.

This does not mean anything,
but it helps me learn the light within,
and remember how to see,
and bear this luminous mantle
as if it is not burdensome.

Eucharistic Prayer

(The body of the prayer may be read responsively or by the presider[s] alone.)

1.
Beloved, God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Faithful One, our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.Loving God, you create us, and create us always anew;
you set us free, and set all people free;
you walk with us into new life, life with all and for all.
In the beginning was your Word, and your Word was light;
your love is the light of all people, and shines in each of us.
Though we are blind to your light, and try to cover it over,
still you shine in all people, and you gather all people in your light.
When we seek to divide, you invite us back,
back to the table of your light.
So with all Creation we sing your praise:

Holy, holy, holy One, God of power and love,
all Creation shimmers with your presence.
Amazing and beautiful! You save us!
Blessed are they who come in your love.
Amazing and beautiful! You save us!

Blessed are all who come in your name,and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
He taught and healed, freeing captives
and binding the wounds of the community.
The light of his love awakened us to our loveliness.Those who feared that light in themselves and others
tried to put out the light: they crucified Jesus.
But you raised him from the dead,
for the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness cannot overcome it.
[The Blessing and Covenant…]*

Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
one in your love, and one in our love for the world.
May your light shine in us, the light of the risen Christ,
the light of love. Amen.



2.
Beloved, God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Faithful One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God thanks and praise.

Creator God, we thank you. For in the beginning
you said “let there be light,” and there was light.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness cannot overcome it.
You claim us as your people, and covenant with us to be our God.
You set your shining bow in the sky as a sign of your faithfulness.
When we go from you, imprisoned by our wants and fears,
you set us free from all that oppresses us.
You leads us to freedom by a pillar of fire.

You give us your Word, a lamp for our feet and a light on our path.
You give us Jesus, the light of the world.
Therefore in gratitude, with all Creation, we sing your praise.

Holy, holy, holy One, God of power and love,
all Creation shimmers with your presence.
Amazing and beautiful! You save us!
Blessed are they who come in your love.
Amazing and beautiful! You save us!


Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ, the light of the world.
The light of your grace shined in him.
He created for us a dwelling built not of walls but of light.
He fed the hungry and healed the broken.
He kindled your light in us whose spirits were dim,
and called us forth as light for the world.

For his witness to justice he was crucified,
but the darkness cannot overcome the light:
in love you raised him from the dead.
Even as he faced his death he shone with the light of resurrection.

       [The Blessing and Covenant…] *

Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ.
May we live always in the light of resurrection,
with the light of your Word guiding us,
the light of your love shining in us,
for the healing of the world.
Amen.


________________
* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending / [after Communion]

God, we thank you for [this mystery in which] you have given yourself to us in love. As the risen Christ shone on the mountain, ready to face his death, we too, by your grace in us, shine with the light of your love, ready to go out into the world and serve, confident in your grace. Bless us that we may listen to Christ always, and shine with your love, for the blessing of the world, in the grace of your Spirit and in the name of Christ. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view, and hear an audio clip, on the Music page)

Christ on the Mountain [Tune: Be Thou My Vision]

Christ on the mountain, our law and our light, we
come to your table with all you invite.
Hearts all aglow with your Spirit’s bright rays,
gladly we offer our gifts and our praise.

Dawning of heaven, our heart’s rising sun,
feasting upon you, we all become one,
bright with the love that your Spirit imparts,
radiant with mercy in each of our hearts.

Christ, as your Body, we pray by your grace, that
we give your deep love a voice and a face,
by love transfigured, with light in our hands,
bringing your gospel to earth’s farthest lands.


Christ on the Mountain Height [Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus]

Christ on the mountain height, radiant with God’s delight,
shining with love and mercy bright,
from fear and death released, we come in thanks to feast
upon your resurrection’s light.

Jesus, Beloved One, bright as Easter’s rising sun,
called to listen and follow you,
fearless of pain or loss, help us to bear your cross
with love’s pure light in all we do.

Savior and dearest friend, Law and Prophet’s fullest end,
strengthened by love, by the Spirit drawn,
feed us with courage, Lord. Help us to live your Word
and trust in Easter’s promised dawn.


Christ, Transfigured [Tune: Ode to Joy]

Christ, transfigured on the mountain, Law and Prophet, Living Word,
by your glory we are humbled, by your presence we are stirred.
Christ, you are God’s faithful servant, God’s beloved Son so dear.
Guide us by this radiant vision: help us listen; help us hear.

Christ, you choose to suffer and to die, rejected, on the cross,
sharing in our sin and death, our struggles, and our pain and loss.
In your faithful, loving presence, even in our darkest nights,
we behold you, God’s Beloved, shining with love’s healing light.

Help us serve you, each transfigured by light shining from above.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit, radiant with the light of love.
In self-giving, help us share our neighbor’s suffering through the night,
and be lamps for those who struggle, with compassion’s gentle light.


Jesus, Transfigured [Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus]

Jesus, transfigured, bright with heaven’s mystery,
highest of prophets and all the law,
our power to comprehend comes to its humble end
in reverent wonder, love and awe.

Sun of the morning, radiant with holy light,
wake us from sleep, that we may see:
see holy glory in each day’s story,
in every day, eternity.

Light of the world, O Christ, shine in us with all your love.
Crucified and risen One,
fill us with holy fire, our hearts with grace inspire,
to share the warmth of heaven’s Sun.


Light for the World [Original tune; dialogue between congregation and soloist]

Love, may we live by your light; let us be light for the world.

Christ, you appeared on the mountain top, shining with radiant glory.
You are God’s Son, the light of the world, and we will tell your story.

God said, “Let light shine out of the dark,” and shines with that glory in Jesus.
And when we turn our faces to Christ, God shines in our own heart.

When you belong to the Lord you are light, no longer held in darkness.
Live what is loving and true, my friends, as children of light.

You are the light, the light of the world. Let God’s light shine in you.
Let your light shine so that others may see, and glorify God.


Listen (Tune: The Gift of Love/ Water Is Wide)

“This is my dear Beloved Son, the Light of Life, my Chosen One.
And so I ask that by my grace you listen for his gentle voice.

“For when you listen and attend in silence deep, you meet your Friend,
whose voice no words can catch or hold, and yet whose love is clearly told.

“And listen well with love’s deep art, to what is in your neighbor’s heart,
for there I dwell, and there I speak; and there I hide, for you to seek.

“My glory shines in every face of my beloved human race.
So listen well with wond’ring care: behold my glory shining there.”


Resurrection Light [Tune: Joyful, Joyful]

Wake us, Jesus from our dreams, to see you in a holy light:
Law and prophet, loving promise God has sent to guide us right.
As Elijah, call us Godward, speak the living truth to us.
As our Moses, lead us in our liberating exodus.

Wake us, Jesus, from our fear of pain and death, and from our sin.
Grant that we may live illumined by the world you usher in.
All things shine with light reflected from the dawn that fills our sight.
All of life is thus transfigured by your resurrection’s light.

Wake us, Jesus from complacent dreaming on the mountain’s height.
Teach us humble service: your departure is our guiding light.
Preach the gospel, feed the hungry, heal the broken, give them sight.
Give your life, then find it, shining bright with Resurrection light.