A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.


Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Prayers of the People: Big Bright Cloudy Mountains, Last Sunday after Epiphany '17 Yr A

For Sunday, February 26, 2017, 8th/Last Sunday after Epiphany, Year A, Readings: Exodus 24:12-18, Psalm 2, 2 Peter 1:16-21, Matthew 17:1-9

       The Lord said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain... and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction...The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days... [Exodus 24: 12, 16a]

       For [Jesus] received honor and glory from God...We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven...So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the morning star rises in your hearts...no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 
[2 Peter 1:17a, 18a, 19, 21]

       Six days later, Jesus...led them up a high mountain...and he was transfigured before them and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white...While [Peter] was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" ...they fell to the ground...overcome by fear. But Jesus...touched them saying, "Get up and do not be afraid." [Matthew 17:1a, 2, 5, 6b, 7]


       The first reading and the Gospel for this Sunday make significant references to the cloud, first covering and settling on Mt. Sinai when Moses went up to receive The Law, and next, the cloud that overshadows those assembled on the Mount of Transfiguration and from which God spoke. These particular kinds of clouds, in which God is present, are known in Judaism as the Shekinah - a feminine Hebrew word for a name of God. It also translates to "settling or dwelling of the Divine Presence."
       In the Second Letter of Peter, we have an eyewitness account of Christ in the moment of Transfiguration, which has been called a foreshadowing of the Second Coming. Peter seeks to lay to rest all false teaching saying We did not follow cleverly devised myths in verse 16, and later implores us to be attentive...until the morning star rises in your hearts. 
       On Mt. Tabor (the traditional site of the Transfiguration), God speaks from the cloud that envelopes Jesus saying again, as at his Baptism, This is my Son, my Beloved, in whom I am well pleased; and adds in the Gospel account for the benefit and the chosen disciples - and us - listen to him! 
       The 13th century Italian theologian Thomas Aquinas considered this miraculous moment as the greatest of the miracles of Jesus as it corresponds to the 5 most significant events in his life, the other 4 being: Baptism, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension.  It was at this moment, the Transfiguration of Christ, at the top of the mountain, that Human and Divine meet, when Jesus is the connector between heaven and earth, when the temporal and eternal spark a dazzling display of transcendent Majestic Glory, all in the sight of the chosen disciples who then bear witness to the prophecy confirmed. 
       Here, then, from upon those Big, Bright, Cloudy Mountains, is a simple yet complex formula for our human experience: Read and Listen. God wrote the Law on the stone tablets for our instruction and, given all the shining and dazzling glory, it is clear that we are urged to listen to Jesus until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts. How perplexing for Moses, Peter, James, and John in their moments, and not always easy in our own. But Jesus tells us, do not be afraid. Let us go forward together in the Divine Presence of God in Christ.



LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

Leader:  ~ O God of Light and Glory, upon Your Sacred Mountains you gave Moses the Law for our instruction and transfigured Your Beloved Son, Jesus, as our model for life. Rise in our hearts as the morning star, and enfold us in Your Holy Cloud of All-Knowing.

                                                Most Holy Lord
RESPONSE:             Let our prayers ascend to You

~ O God of Light and Glory, uncloud the minds and transform the hearts of the leaders of this Planet, this Nation, and this Community, that they will enable legislation with justice tempered with mercy for all. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Most Holy Lord
                                                Let our prayers ascend to You
                                               
~ O God of Light and Glory, embrace all who are seriously ill, weary, or anxious, and bless those give them strength of body and heart with their care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                Most Holy Lord
                                                Let our prayers ascend to You
           
~ O God of Light and Glory, our Beacon of Hope in the dark times of mourning, give us comfort in knowing that the souls of those who have gone before us are now bathed in the dazzling glory of the Transfigured Christ. We pray especially for: add your own petitions  

                                                Most Holy Lord
                                                Let our prayers ascend to You

~ O God of Light and Glory, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt intentions and petitions, aloud or silently…

                                                Most Holy Lord
                                                Let our prayers ascend to You
           
~ O God of Light and Glory, rejuvenate and sustain those You have given to us as the leaders of Your Church, and help them remember that they may also follow and take refuge in Your wisdom and counsel.   We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Most Holy Lord
                                                Let our prayers ascend to You
                                                                                                        
The Celebrant adds:  O Lord our God, You enjoin us to “listen” to the Transfigured Christ who himself told us “do not be afraid.”  Disperse the clouds of our own making that we may hear the Radiant Christ in our hearts, and strive to follow Your Law with courage and conviction in community with one another. We ask this in the name of Jesus Your Beloved Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.  Amen.







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