The Lord be with you! Welcome, Cheviot churches and also those joining us from elsewhere. I hope everyone is staying well and keeping safe. Come, people of God, let us worship together on this Transfiguration Sunday
Call to Worship
God said, “Let light shine in the darkness!”
Lord, shine your light into our lives.
We see the glory of God in the face of Christ.
The light of Christ is with us day by day.
Let us follow the light of Christ together.
Let us worship God with thanks and praise.
Hymn 35 – O send thy light forth and thy truth
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
God of grace and glory, to this worried world, you reveal your presence in radiant glory and in gentle whispers, on mountain tops and in shadowed valleys, in classrooms and hospital beds, in homes and churches, in the quiet of nature and on busy streets. Yours is the presence that pushes past our fear to calm us; yours is the love that transforms our doubt with reassurance. We come to dwell in your goodness and offer you the praise you deserve.
God of mercy and forgiveness, we confess that many things keep us from trusting fully in your love. We are often distracted by our own desires and disappointments. We cling to anger and resentment. We fear for the future rather than seek signs of hope. Forgive us.
Shine your love upon us so that your glory may be seen in us, and give us courage to follow Jesus wherever he leads,
for we pray in his name.
To all who humbly seek the mercy of God.
in Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven.
Be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another.
Readings – 2 Kings 2: 1-12
Mark 9: 2-9
Hymn 557 – O love that wilt not let me go
Almighty God, at the Transfiguration you showed Jesus in a new state of glory. In our worship together help us to get a glimpse of your heavenly kingdom as well as a deeper understanding of how your son, Jesus, can transfigure our broken and unfulfilled lives. Be with us as we move into the coming week, with our eyes fixed on Jesus only. Amen
It has been marvellous this week to look out at the hills covered in snow, though maybe it was more difficult for those needing to make essential journeys, like going to be vaccinated. We live in a beautiful part of the world. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are reputed to have gone for a hike in such countryside and come the evening, they took out their tent and camped. At some point during the night, Holmes woke Watson and said, ‘Look up. What do you see?’ ‘Millions of stars’, Watson replied. ‘What do you deduce from that?’, Holmes asked. Watson answered, ‘If there are so many planets, perhaps there is one like Earth and there could be life’. Holmes looked at him in exasperation and said ‘Watson…it means somebody stole our tent!’
Sometimes we just don’t see what is in front of us, though I must admit a sympathy with Watson. Like him, the disciples in our reading from Mark failed to understand fully what was before them, when Jesus took them up the mountain. But then the story of the Transfiguration is a difficult one for us too, with talk of Jesus’ clothes becoming dazzling white and with the appearance of the two heroes from the Hebrew Scriptures, Moses and Elijah. Like Moses at the Burning bush or Elijah and the Chariot of Fire, the Transfiguration is beyond our normal experience, but then it maybe speak to us of times when we are taken out of ourselves, when we are up a mountain or in a great cathedral or beside the sea, and we have the wow factor, or we simply feel close to God.
The Transfiguration was a turning point. Just before it, Peter had confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, but then when Jesus had explained that he had to suffer, the disciples just couldn’t get their heads around it. They needed to have the mountaintop experience, to see Jesus in glory with Moses and Elijah beside him, representing the Law and the Prophets; they needed to hear the voice from heaven affirming Jesus as the beloved son. It was so much to take in, and perhaps that is why Peter suggests they build shelters and stay forever. When we have that ‘wow’ moment, we want to make it last, but often it is too fleeting. So it was with the disciples.
The disciples needed that time on the mountain and maybe Jesus did too, knowing that the way ahead meant suffering and even death. But Jesus chose to come down the mountain: down to the crowds and their demands for healing; down to the religious problems of the day, the rivalries and jealousies; down to where the other disciples were and down to where we are; down to the discouragements; down to the frustrations of pandemic. Down to the way that led to the Cross.
Jesus came down the mountain. That is at the heart of Christian faith, for God in Christ came down to be with us and for us, to walk alongside us, that we might know God and have life in abundance.
It is always good to have the wow moments, but we too need to come down the mountain, but we find ourselves in the company of Christ, who cares for us, all our ups and downs, hopes and dreams – and, as the hymn says, doesn’t let us go.
Hymn 448 – Lord the light of your love is shining
Prayers of Dedication, Thanksgiving and Intercession
God of life and love, receive our gifts as tokens of our love. Bless them so they strengthen the service of love we undertake in Jesus’ name. May our lives shine with hope in these difficult days of wintertime, as we wait for healing and renewal.
Ever loving God, we pray today for your church. As Christian communities all across Scotland and the World, face new challenges, pain and an uncertain future, we pray for the wisdom to see new opportunities for growth and renewal, even in these difficult times. We pray for the Church, as it continues to work for your kingdom, and to carry out your mission.
God of glory,
we thank you for the tireless effort of nurses, doctors and consultants, caring for patients, especially those who are suffering from Covid-19.
We ask that you would give all medical staff peace as they care for the sick,
and peace as many of them wait at the bedside of those who are at the end of life. We remember the work of hospital chaplains.
We pray for all who have been kept apart from those they love;
for those who have not been able to mourn for friends and family who have died,
and we pray especially for relatives of people in care homes –
surround them all with your healing presence.
We remember people in our own communities who are suffering
asking that you would lighten the pain and distress of daily life. Amen
Hymn 519 – Love Divine
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Hymn786 – May the God of peace