Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving
This is the final Sunday following Epiphany, and the last before Lent: Transfiguration Sunday. All three synoptic gospels tell a story of Peter, James, and John accompanying Jesus to the top of a holy mountain. There, before their eyes, Jesus is transfigured, changed, becoming dazzlingly bright.
Carolyn Brown suggests using all the candles of the liturgical year (Advent candles, little candle lighting services candles, regular Sunday candles, paschal candle…) Let the sanctuary become BRIGHT as you name them and light them. Then urge worshipers to watch for God’s glory and light in worship today. http://worshipingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2016/01/year-c-transfiguration-of-lord-february.html
Call to Worship (from Exodus 34 and Luke 9)
One: In the depth of winter’s darkness, we come to give GLORY to God,
Many: in the dazzling light of candles, we tell the stories of Moses and Jesus.
One: Change comes. God transforms God’s people.
Many: Like Moses coming down the mountain, let’s let God’s glory SHINE!
One: Changed from glory into glory, lost in wonder, love and praise,
Many: we lift up our eyes, our hands and our hearts to praise God!
(consider using CH #517, Love Divine, All Loves Excelling for opening hymn)
Mighty God, in the long winter slog it’s easy for us to drift along. Short days, still getting dark so early, seem to dampen any enthusiasm for discipleship for so many of us.
Wake us up! Help us rejoice today as we recall the brilliance of Moses’ face on Mt. Sinai, and the dazzling wonder of Jesus on the mountaintop. Renew in us the eager anticipation of disciples, eager to celebrate having seen Moses, Elijah and the metamorphosis of their teacher, Jesus. Shine in us! AMEN
Moment for Stewardship
Peter was known among the disciples as the impetuous one.
It was Peter who tried to walk on water to get to Jesus. Peter tried to chastise Jesus for speaking about Jesus’ impending death! Peter later was the one who cut off the ear of a man in the Garden of Gethsemene.
So it’s not surprising to read it was Peter who wanted to give tents to Jesus, Moses and Elijah, on the mountain. Recognizing the unique moment, Peter was eager to give something to these central figures of the faith.
It’s not been so very long since we were trying to give just the right gift to the important people in our lives. Today we step into this offering time, hope-filled, that we can provide a gift worthy of the One who was transfigured.
We may not be as impetuous as Peter, but we are people seeking to listen and follow Jesus. We may not be as gob-smacked as Peter, James and John, but we recognize our lives have been changed because of Jesus.
What can we bring? I want to challenge each one of us to bring our whole heart today. When we offer our heart to the One who gives us life, the other pieces fall into place. We instinctively know our time, our talents and our treasure will follow where our heart leads.
Today, in the midst of the beauty of light, let us bring our whole selves and our offerings, eager to present our gifts to God.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Giving thanks to you, God of all Creation, we ask you to receive these signs of our love. Accept these gifts, knowing we offer them as symbols of the life you give us. Help us utilize this money, and each of our lives, to show your GLORY to a hurting world. In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN
Invitation to Communion
We rarely hear the word “transfiguration”, so let’s take a moment to break it down into 2 basic parts: “trans” means change, and “figure” meaning shape or form.
Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell of this event, describing how Jesus’ form (body) was changed right before Peter, James and John.
While we may not have experienced such a mountain-top change, we may each have had a moment sometime when Jesus became real, more present, more LORD. I’d like to tell you… (if you’re willing to share a moment when that happened to you, this would be a wonderful time to do that…)
If you’re not able to tell your own story, you might use this one:
At church camp, years ago, the high school campers planned a special “last night” vespers. They lined a path with lit candles, encouraging each camper to walk on the path by himself/herself, moving from the campfire to the outdoor chapel, about 500 feet away, in the woods.
Once in the chapel, everyone was invited to find a place to sit, somewhat distanced from each other. A lone voice sang “in to my heart, in to my heart, come in to my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today, come in to stay, come into my heart, Lord Jesus.” A second voice invited each person to think about how his/her life would be different if Jesus took up residence, and was not just a Sunday thought.
And then, a simple flute solo began, as three people stepped forward. One brought a basket of votive candles and a lighter. A second brought a loaf of bread. A third carried a tray of small cups filled with juice.
One by one, each camper received a candle, which was lit by the candle-bearer and could be placed on the bench beside the camper.
Next, someone offered the bread, encouraging each camper to take a hunk and hold it. Finally, the third person offered the cup of juice, which could be held, or set beside the candle.
When all had received a candle, bread and juice, the music came to an end, and the leader invited us all to prayer. She told the campers “God claimed Jesus as ‘my Son, my Chosen’, and directed those who could hear, ‘listen to him’. Tonight, we’re going to take time to listen.
In the silence of that forested chapel, lit by candlelight, we listened. In varied ways, many were able to recognize Jesus in the bread and in the cup.
Today, in our own sanctuary, let’s listen…
And now, together, let us receive the body and blood of Jesus, transfigured for us.