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 25, 2019

Prayers of the People: In a Blaze of Glory ~ Last Sunday after the Epiphany Yr C '19

For Sunday, March 3, 2019, Last Sunday [8th] after the Epiphany, Yr C, Readings: Exodus 34:29-35, Psalm 99, 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2, 
Luke 9:28-36, [37-43a]

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The Transfiguration by Lewis Bowman
       As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. [Exodus 34:29]

       Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God and worship him upon his holy hill; for the Lord our God, is the Holy One. [Psalm 99:9]

                      And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit…we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.  
[2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:2b]

            And while [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him.  They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem... Then from a cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" [Luke 9:29-31, 35]

          We have arrived at the Last Sunday after the Epiphany and we end nearly as we began. All the way back on January 6th Isaiah told us to Arise, shine; for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. [Isaiah 60:1] and the Gospel reminded us of the Wise men from the East following a shining star leading them to the newly born king of the Jews. [Matthew 2:2] This Sunday Moses has talked with God and comes down from the Mountain with the two tablets and the skin of his face was shining. [Exodus 34:30] The Gospel of Luke is telling us of the Transfiguration of Jesus as his face changed and his clothes became dazzling white.
        The season of Epiphany can last anywhere from 4-9 weeks depending on how Easter falls on the lunar calendar, guided by the timing of the Vernal Equinox (Autumnal in the Southern Hemisphere). This year, we are finishing on the 8th Sunday with Ash Wednesday following immediately. Whatever the number of Sundays, the final one is always known as The Last Sunday after the Epiphany and includes one of the three Gospel accounts of the Transfiguration.
         As we hear this week, Moses brought the tablets down to those waiting at the base of the Mountain, in the time of the Exodus with the Israelites in the desert after fleeing slavery in Egypt. Having spoken with God, his face is shining so brightly it frightens everyone. So, after revealing the Commandments that God had spoken to him, Moses veiled his face to hide the brilliance but removed the veil whenever he went in before the Lord.    
        Paul gives us a different perspective by saying that in the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. In turning to Christ we are as with unveiled faces. Through the Spirit of Christ there is freedom and, in that freedom with our unveiled faces we, too, are being transformed.
         As Jesus takes Peter, John, and James to another mountain to pray, he knows his destiny. This was the chance to reveal himself in such a way to give them the strength to go through what was to come.
         In the midst of the stunning change in his appearance, who appears in the blaze of glory but Moses and Elijah and they discuss with Jesus his coming departure, his own exodus. The disciples were too overwhelmed in that moment to consciously understand that the presence of these others connects Jesus to the breadth of the history of Salvation. In that moment, Jesus completes the teachings of the Law and the Prophets. As the voice of God appears from a cloud – as through the pillar of cloud along the trek of the Exodus – the command is to listen to him, the one who is chosen as the Son of God.
        As we leave the season of Epiphany let us carry the dazzling glory of the Transfiguration with us to not lose heart during the weeks of Lent ahead. As we reflect on our faith, our lives, our repentance, we seek the new radiance of Christ’s Resurrection. As Paul says through Christ, we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth, we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.
        To paraphrase Julia Ward Howe’s poem that became the Battle Hymn of the Republic: “In the beauty of the lilies  Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. As He died to make us holy, let us live to make all free, with Christ we’re marching on.”


Leader:  ~ Great and Holy Lord, our God, unveil our hearts to know Your Glory within us that it may shine upon all those we meet. Transform our faith from passive to active, reflecting Your mercy and love in all our thoughts, words, and actions.

                                                Jesus, Christ of God   
RESPONSE:             We commend our lives to You

~ Great and Holy Lord, our God, inspire the wills of all who govern on this Planet, in this Nation, and in this Community, to renounce in good conscience, all forms of racism, injustice, and any legislative acts that deprive basic human rights to our brothers and sisters everywhere. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, Christ of God
                                                We commend our lives to You

~ Great and Holy Lord, our God, release all who suffer in body, mind, or spirit, and grant resilience to those who offer support. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need…add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, Christ of God
                                                We commend our lives to You

~ Great and Holy Lord, our God, brighten the shadows for all who grieve through the radiance of those who now share in the bliss of new and unending life in Christ.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, Christ of God
                                                We commend our lives to You

~  Great and Holy Lord, our God, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently…add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, Christ of God
                                                We commend our lives to You
~ Great and Holy Lord, our God, uplift and continually energize all who are chosen and anointed as exemplars of Your word and will, the guiding beacons on our sacred path to You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                Jesus, Christ of God
                                                We commend our lives to You

The Celebrant adds: O Christ, Transfigured, draw us by Your Light and Love to obey God’s command to listen and heed the words of Your Gospel, and to not lose heart but faithfully embrace and engage in Your ministry as our purpose in this life. We ask of You, God’s Chosen Son; and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom Source; who together with our Creator, live and reign as one God in Glory, now and for ever. Amen.

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