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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Prayers of the People: Transfiguration Day: Cloudy with a Chance of Dazzle ~ Last Sunday after the Epiphany '20 Yr A

For Sunday, February 26, 2020, 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]

        Why are the nations in an uproar…Happy are they all who take refuge in [the Lord].  
[Psalm 2:1a, 13]

   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]

       We begin the readings for this Sunday with a taste of the Moses story of his ascending Mt. Sinai to await the tablets containing God’s instructions. After waiting for the call for 6 days, he entered the blazing cloud of God’s glory that had covered the mountain and could be seen by those below. What comes later in Exodus is Moses veiling his face after his divine encounter as his own radiance is nearly blinding to the Israelites on his return.  
     As with Moses and the stone tablets, the Transfiguration of Jesus is at once mystery, miracle, and milestone. Jesus became a dazzling, shining, glowing, gleaming, shimmering beam of radiant glory! A momentary, visible metamorphosis. At the top of the mountain, Jesus becomes the connection, the conduit between human and divine ~ between God and us. Another cloud of God in glory overshadowed them and again, God spoke to say, as at his baptism, “This is my Son, my Beloved…” and most importantly for Peter, James, John, and us: listen to him!  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."
      We are quite familiar with the miracles Jesus performs through the Spirit of God along the way of his ministry - changing water to wine, healing the blind, the lame, casting out demons, raising the dead. But this is unique among them as this is a miracle of God within Jesus, unmistakably transforming him in the sight of others. Even if not completely understood, it was, for the disciples with him, a tiny sample of divine radiance.
      The milestone is glorious yet subtly somber. Moses and Elijah were speaking with Jesus about his departure which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. This comes just 6 days after Jesus tells the disciples that he will undergo suffering as will those who choose to follow. Peter was rebuked by Jesus for arguing the point and now he is a witness to the extraordinary Being that is Jesus. And now, Jesus says, Do not be afraid.
      It seems like only a few weeks ago we birthed him, baptized him, and heard him preaching in parables, and challenging the conventional norms. Now, already, Moses and Elijah speak of his departure from his human existence. How time flies in the Lectionary! We are about to enter a time of reflection, faith exploration, choosing between repentance and following Jesus and taking the easier path of mortal enticement. Lent is upon us.
     For us in our time, such readings may seem all too familiar as we know that we are heading into the solemn preparation for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Even if it is difficult to get our culturally jaded, multi-media savvy, western minds around this sublime moment in the life of our Redeemer, we can remember the voice that comes from the cloud to tell us that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, His Beloved, His Chosen.
      Let us choose to listen. After the seriousness of Lent, the dazzle of the Transfiguration will be completely outshone by the indescribable glory of the Resurrection, if we open ourselves. And that will be a new beginning of our journey to our own transfiguring. Happy are those who take refuge in him!


Leader:  ~ O God of Majestic Glory, transfigure our souls to radiate as the light of Jesus, shining through the darkness in this mortal life. May Your Holy Spirit rise in our hearts as the morning star each dawn to make known the power, the presence, and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

                                                    O Lord, our Refuge
RESPONSE:                 Receive our prayers

~ O God of Majestic Glory, grant wisdom to kings and all rulers of the Earth, this Nation, and this Community, that they will bow to Your will, mandate, and legislate justice tempered with mercy for allWe pray especially for: add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our Refuge
                                                       Receive our prayers

~ O God of Majestic Glory, embrace all who are seriously ill, weary, or anxious, and bless those give them care. We now join our voices to pray aloud for those in need… add your own petitions
                                                       O Lord, our Refuge
                                                       Receive our prayers
~ O God of Majestic Glory, comfort us in knowing that the souls of those who have gone before us, are now enfolded in the dazzling glory of the Transfigured Christ forever. We pray especially for… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our Refuge
                                                       Receive our prayers

~ O God of Majestic Glory, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently… add your own petitions

                                                       O Lord, our Refuge
                                                       Receive our prayers
~ O God of Majestic Glory, ignite the spirits of all who lead us in Your church, as the men and women who reveal Your Will to us through Word, Sacrament, and guidance on the Way. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
The Celebrant adds: O Lord, our God, You enjoin us to listen Your Beloved Son who told us do not be afraid. Strengthen us to know the Radiant Christ in our hearts, striving to follow Your Law in faith, with courage and conviction. We ask in the name of the Resurrected Jesus; and the Holy Spirit, Your Divine Voice; who lives and reigns with You as One God, forever and ever. Amen. 


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