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 21, 2022

Prayers of the People: Lifting the Veil ~ Last Sunday after the Epiphany '22 Yr C

For Sunday, February 27, 2022, Readings: Exodus 34:29-35, Psalm 99, 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2, 
Luke 9:28-36, [37-43a]

Earl Mott, Artist
     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 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 this 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 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 spoken to him, Moses veiled his face to hide the brilliance but removed the veil whenever he went in before the Lord.    
        But 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.
        Verse 9 of today’s Psalm 99 says: Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God and worship him upon his holy hill; for the Lord our God, is the Holy One. Our whole Earth, this island home, is God’s holy hill as are the sanctuaries of our houses of worship that serve the same special purpose, to proclaim God’s greatness.
        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.”  Let us lift the veil that we use to hide Christ's shining glory within us and light up the world we live in!

Leader:  ~ Great and Holy Lord unveil our hearts to know Your Glory within us that it may shine upon all we meet. Transform our faith from passive to active, reflecting Your mercy and love in all our thoughts, words, and actions.
                                                Jesus, our Christ
         RESPONSE:            We turn again to You
~ Great and Holy Lord, inspire the wills of all who govern on this Planet, in this Nation, and in this Community, to commend themselves in Your sight and in good conscience to renounce all forms of racism, injustice, and all legislative acts that deprive basic human rights to our brothers and sisters everywhere. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                Jesus, our Christ
                                                We turn again to You
~ Great and Holy Lord, 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, our Christ
                                                We turn again to You
~ Great and Holy Lord, brighten the shadows for all who grieve through the radiance of those we love, who now share in the bliss of new and unending life in Christ.  We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                Jesus, our Christ
                                                We turn again to You
~  Great and Holy Lord, we pause in this moment to offer You our other heartfelt thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials, aloud or silently…add your own petitions
                                                Jesus, our Christ
                                                We turn again to You
~ Great and Holy Lord, uplift and continually energize all who are chosen and anointed as our earthly Shepherds of Your Word and Will, the guiding beacons on our sacred path to You. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                Jesus, our Christ
                                                We turn again 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. Strengthen our hearts to feel Your constant presence, and to faithfully embrace the call to Your ministry as our purpose, to light the way for us all in this life. We ask this 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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