Thursday, 11 February 2021

Marsden Road Uniting Order of Service - Feast of Transfiguration - 14 February 2021

 


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford

______________________________________ 

Clinging to the Light,

The Transfiguration

Sunday 14th February 2020

Transfiguration Sunday year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People       

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.

Call to Worship  (Abingdon Worship Annual 2018)       

Chariots and horses of fire . . . a prophet taken up into heaven . . . a gospel unveiled . . . Moses, Elijah, and Jesus shining brighter than the sun . . . the time approaches and now is. Watch . . . listen . . . perceive . . . God is with us. Nothing is as it seems.

The glory of God is too great for you to bear.

We are not afraid. We will not turn back.

The mystery of God runs too deep for you to fathom.

We are not deterred. We will not turn back.

The fiery chariot of Elijah is not for mortal sight to see.

We are blessed with the eyes of faith. We will not turn back.

Come then, and worship our God, who took Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind.

We will worship the Lord, who transfigured Moses, Elijah, and Jesus to shine like the sun. 

Hymn TIS 207: Jesus shall reign where're the sun

                  (Tune – Duke Street)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7HD_Aul1bw

YouTube misses out verse 5 

1 Jesus shall reign where'er the sun

does its successive journeys run,

his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

till moons shall wax and wane no more.

 

2 For him shall endless prayer be made,

and praises throng to crown his head.

His name like sweet perfume shall rise

with every morning sacrifice.

 

3 People and realms of every tongue

dwell on his love with sweetest song,

and infant voices shall proclaim

their early blessings on his name.

 

4 Blessings abound where'er he reigns:

the prisoners leap to lose their chains,

the weary find eternal rest,

and all who suffer want are blest.

 

5 Where he displays his healing power

death and the curse are known no more;

in him the tribes of Adam boast

more blessings than their father lost.

 

6 Let every creature rise and bring

the highest honours to our King,

angels descend with songs again,

and earth repeat the loud amen. 

Author: Isaac Watts (1719)
Tune: Duke Street 

     Opening Prayer

     God of mighty tempest and devouring fire, you come to us shrouded in mystery. Just as Elisha followed Elijah until he was taken up into heaven, we will follow Christ up the mountain to behold his glory. Who are Moses and Elijah that we should not join their ranks among the faithful? What is to prevent us from shining with Christ this very day? Give us eyes and ears of faith, Holy One, that we may see the heavens open and hear your voice, calling us to follow your Son. Amen. 

Prayer of Confession

God of mystery, the mountaintop seems so far away as we stand in its shadow.

In our journey of faith, we yearn to have the courage of Elisha, who followed Elijah with a hope and faith that did not falter; we long to hear answers to questions that are only known at the end of the road.

Will we see your presence in the whirlwind?

Will we see the fiery chariot connect heaven and earth?

Will we even have the courage to look up?

Will we inherent a double portion of spirit from those who brought us up in the faith?

May it be so, O God. May it be so. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Through the light of the one who was transfigured to show us the power and glory of God, we find a way through the wilderness of our doubt and confusion; we find strength for the journey and courage for the road ahead.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Share signs of peace with one another and behold the light of Christ shining in everyone you greet.

Peace be with you!

And also with you!

(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.) 

A Word with the Children/Young People

As this is effectively the last Sunday of the season of Epiphany, lets speak of stars.  What comes into the minds of you children/youth when I say the word "star." 

·       Probably stars in the sky,

·       Pop and movie stars.

·       Maybe you children receive stars at preschool or school for doing good work or good behaviour,

·       We could even mention navigation...

Have you ever met a sailor or someone else who has used stars to navigate or to plot their position? I wonder if you know how it’s done (check this out) and could we describe briefly and in simple language how they do it. 

People throughout the centuries - especially sailors, have used the position of the stars to find their own position and to find their way from one place to another. 

Do you know who once used a star to guide them to find the baby Jesus.  We remember that event by calling it Epiphany and that happened more than a month ago and on almost every week since then, there has been some mention of light in the bible readings so in a way, we have been guided by  light and today we are invited to think about God's glory and how that shone out of Jesus like a great light and how it can shine through our lives as we  try to be as loving and as kind as Jesus.   When we do, we will live as though we had a star in our hearts which helps us to navigate our way through life and can help others find the way to Jesus also. If we can let us Stick a star over each child’s heart.

Offering Prayer

Light of Light, when we grow accustomed to dwelling in the shadows and painting with drab colours, you bless us with your radiance and the vitality of your love. Illumine these gifts, Holy One, that the world may see your light shining through our offering. Illumine our very lives, O God, that we may remain restless until we shine like Christ upon the mountain, until we follow Elisha’s footsteps and behold your glory. Amen.

 

Hymn TIS 675: Lord, the light of your love is shining...

                  (Tune - Shine, Jesus, Shine)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rce9UHYZwl4

1 Lord, the light of Your love is shining, 

in the midst of the darkness, shining:

Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us;

set us free by the truth You now bring us –

shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine,

fill this land with the Father's glory;

blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river, flow,

flood the nations with grace and mercy;

send forth Your word. Lord, and let there be light.

 

2  Lord, I come to Your awesome presence, 

from the shadows into Your radiance;

 by Your blood I may enter Your brightness: 

search me, try me, consume all my darkness

shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine,

fill this land with the Father's glory;

blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river, flow,

flood the nations with grace and mercy;

send forth Your word. Lord, and let there be light.

 

3 As we gaze on Your kingly brightness

so our faces display Your likeness,

ever changing from glory to glory:

mirrored here, may our lives tell Your story

shine on me, shine on me. 

Shine, Jesus, shine,

fill this land with the Father's glory;

blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river, flow,

flood the nations with grace and mercy;

send forth Your word. Lord, and let there be light. 

 Words Graham Kendrick       Music: Shine Jesus shine 9.9.10.10.6 

The Service of the Word

 

The First Reading:                                            2 Kings 2:1-12

The Gospel Reading:                                        Mark 9:2-9

Readings: NRSV Translation

2 Kings 2:1-12

1 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So, they went down to Bethel. 3 The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’ 4 Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So, they came to Jericho. 5 The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’ 6 Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground. 9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ 10 He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

 

Mark 9:2-9

2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 

Preaching of the Word - Clinging to the Light, The Transfiguration

Transfiguration! Metamorphosis.

We recognise metamorphosis, the Greek word that means to change shape or to move from having one image to another, because of the process most of us encountered in school—the marvellous metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The word with the Latin roots, transfiguration, is associated more with spiritual experience, specifically this occasion recounted in Matthew, Mark and Luke known as the synoptic gospels.

This is a luminous story, and its light has blinded interpreters into flights of fancy or has left them, and us, simply dazzled. All the other gospel stories, before the resurrection, even the miracles or signs, are quite earthbound. There are sick and troubled women, crippled and blind men, miserable, possessed people, and they are all healed or liberated. Yet, always earthy. The miracles of Jesus are always other-directed. This one, however, concerns Jesus himself and has the atmosphere of the otherworldly surrounding it.

This story takes us and the three chosen disciples to a height where the veil is rent for a few seconds probably, seconds that must have seemed like hours. It’s important to remember when this event occurs in the chronology of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus has started preparing his beloved disciples for his death. He knows what awaits him: he has challenged what we would call the status quo of the religious authorities of his day; he has shown that his values are not their values; his focus has been the kingdom of heaven. But his disciples, time and again, fail to understand who he is and what it is that he is showing them, and he tells them time and time again what inevitable end awaits him. He asks them: “Who do the crowds say that I am?” and they answer with the famous names of their past—John the Baptist, Elijah, even Jeremiah. And then he asks them the most crucial question of all: “And who do you say that I am?”

Of course, it is Peter who answers: Peter, who had flashes of revelation and understanding to be replaced almost immediately by confusion, fear, or puzzlement. In this instance, he comes through with the declaration of recognition and of faith: “The Messiah of God.” After this declaration, Jesus makes it clear to Peter and to us that this realization of his person is a gift from God. Matthew tells of Jesus responding, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Parent in heaven.” The words take away the temptation to human pride.

Eight days have passed after this moment of revelation, and Jesus takes his three closest friends on a hike to a mountain—not named but guessed at through the ages. It was not a surprising excursion; Jesus made it a habit of going away in order to pray, to listen to his Father; being fully human, he cherished the companionship of his dear friends whenever he removed himself from the crowds. The mountain he chose was a high one so the trek must have taken all day, and night must be approaching. The three disciples must wonder at times how it is that they get so worn out from the constant walking and the crowds pressing upon them; but the demands of all the needy people on their master, who seems never to stop, having nowhere to lay his head, must appal them. “How does he keep going?” they are probably asking themselves. They must also have recognised that prayer was a lifeline for their teacher. They have accompanied him, but now they are probably longing to rest and sleep while Jesus is at his prayers.

Suddenly, all tiredness is forgotten. A bright light dazzles them, but the light is Jesus himself. Instead of the familiar head and shape of their teacher, they see something like the light of the sun—brilliant and blinding. Jesus is transformed before them. He is no longer the tired man who has walked miles and miles, who has been pulled and pushed by a crowd, but he is a shining being that somehow does not seem to be of this world. He is bathed in glory. The sight must have filled the three disciples with such awe that they could not move or open their mouths. But as their eyes become accustomed to the brilliance emanating from their once familiar teacher, they behold two more persons near him.

Why did they think the persons were Moses and Elijah? There were no representations in the Hebrew tradition. Certainly, there were no photographs and no paintings or sculptures of the two greats in their history. Did Jesus call them by name? We are not told. And if they represent the Law and the Prophets respectively, why imagine that one of them is Elijah instead of the great Isaiah as representative of the prophets? No answer is given. One is tempted to suspect that because six days before they had responded that the crowd thought Jesus was a new Moses or a new Elijah the names were available to their brains. Regardless. The surmise is that the two were encouraging him to face what was to come. And now Peter starts babbling.

And who can blame him? Below the mountain, the dangers and the darkness are approaching. The early, heady days of ministry are gone. Now Pharisees and Sadducees are clamouring to trip their beloved teacher at every turn, and Jesus himself keeps dropping hints of his own early death. It is all so frightening. This, this is so much better. Here there is light and beauty and safety among heavenly beings. Jesus is finally where he belongs—in the Other Realm which is bathed in Light.

Peter doesn’t want this moment to stop. How many of us have prayed for the same thing—for the joyful times to linger, for people we love not to die, for darkness and depression and sadness not to return? We can imagine Peter later in his life telling this story to his followers, who would share it all and eventually they would write it down. “I told the Lord that we should stay there. I said I would build three cabins so they could stay—one for him, one for Elijah and one for Moses. I guess I thought we three would just stay on the ground gazing at their light. In scripture we read that he didn’t know what he was saying. Would any of us have known? To have a glimpse of heaven, to see the one we have admired for so long revealing himself in all his glory—who would not want to stay in that bliss?

And there is more. A voice from heaven booms to tell them: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” Terrified now, they fall on their faces. And then, just as suddenly, they are alone, and Jesus looks as he always did. His time has not yet come, but the cross cannot be avoided. They will go down from the mountain and Jesus will set his face toward Jerusalem. Arrest, torture, and death are awaiting him.

Why did this moment of Transfiguration happen? They must wonder as they go down the mountain. Was it real? Did Peter and James and John remember it afterward when they were watching him through the agonising hours on the Via Dolorosa? We are given no hint that they did. Perhaps after the Resurrection and his appearances to them, they remembered that moment on the mountain and understood. But again, we are not told. It is very possible that the Transfiguration happened because Jesus needed it. His three friends just happened to be there to witness the glory. What was awaiting Jesus was a horror beyond words – not just on his physical body, but in the terrible abandonment he felt on the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He needed those moments of encouragement and of light on the Mount of Transfiguration. In the times of fear and desperation in this life, we all do. When the darkness is approaching, let us cling to the Light. 

Hymn TIS 143: Immortal, invisible, God only wise

                 (Tune – St Denio)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd0FyrzVUCM

YouTube has King James English version.

1.  Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

almighty, victorious, your great name we praise.

 

2.  Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

nor wanting, nor wasting, but ruling in might;

your justice like mountains high soaring above,

your clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

 

3.  You give life to all, Lord, to both great and small;

in all life now living, the true life of all;

we blossom and flourish as leaves on a tree,

then wither: but ever unchanged you will be.

 

4.  Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,

your angels adore you, all veiling their sight;

of all your rich graces this grace, Lord, impart -

take the veil from our faces, the veil from our heart.

 

5.  All praise we would render: reveal to our sight,

what hides you is only the splendour of light;

and so let your glory, Almighty, impart

through Christ in the story, your Christ to the heart. 

Tune: St. Denio. Author: Walter Chalmers Smith 1824-1908 

Intercessory Prayers - Transfiguration Sunday – Year B

Holy God, in the beauty of your created world, we glimpse your glory. It is good,0 God, to be in your presence.

We pray for your world: Where its beauty is disfigured by our careless stewardship. Where its beauty is broken and bleeding from war. Where its beauty is diminished by corruption· and greed. Transfigure your world by your presence, 0 God, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the shining light of the gospel, we glimpse your glory.

We pray for your church: For all who preach your word. For all who translate your word. For all who minister in your name. Transfigure your church by your presence, 0 God, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the joy and wonder of human love, we glimpse your glory.

We pray for those whose love enriches our lives: For little children with generous and forgiving hearts. For those who care for the frail and the sick. For our families and friends and all relationships that speak to us of you. Transfigure us by your presence, 0 God, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the compassionate heart of Jesus, we glimpse your glory. We pray for all in need of your compassion and care: all whose bodies are bruised; all whose spirits are crushed; all whose minds are confused; all whose hearts are broken.

Transfigure their lives with your presence, 0 God, and, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the lives of your saints, we glimpse your glory. We pray for all who have departed this life and who are now with you.

0 God, you summon home your faithful servants. As you gathered up to heaven your servant Elijah, may you draw us also into the promise of your glory, for it is good, 0 God, to be in your presence. Holy God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen

 

Hymn TIS 447: Lord your almighty word

                 (Tune – Moscow)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfdR7r7xgN8

YouTube has some different words but close.

1 Lord, your almighty word

chaos and darkness heard,

and took their flight:

hear us, we humbly pray,

and where the gospel day

sheds not its glorious ray,

let there be light.

 

2 Saviour, who came to give

those who in darkness live

healing and sight,

health to the sick in mind,

sight to the inly blind,

now to all humankind

let there be light.

 

3 Spirit of truth and love,

life-giving holy dove,

speed forth your flight;

move on the waters' face

bearing the lamp of grace,

and in earth's darkest place

let there be light.

 

4 Holy and blessed Three,

glorious Trinity,

Wisdom, Love, Might,

boundless as ocean's tide

rolling in fullest pride,

through the earth far and wide,

let there be light. 

Author: John Marriott, 1720-1825

Tune: Moscow Composer:    Felice Giardini, 1716-96       

Benediction

Go forth with the courage to climb the mountain of God.

We will walk in the light and truth of Christ.

Go forth with ears to hear the voice of God.

We will hear the call to follow Jesus.

Go forth to live as people who shine with Christ’s glory.

We will leave footprints of light as we walk.

Go forth in expectation and hope, for God goes with you, and may the blessings of that God go with you, Amen. 

        Hymn TIS 779: May the feet of God walk with you.
                       (Tune – Aubrey)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X5FHNGM2HA

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand hold you tight.

May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hear your cry.

May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give you life.

May the Child of God grow in you, and his love bring you Home. 

        Robyn Mann (1949 -)   Aubrey Podlick (1946 -)




 

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