O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Father in heaven,
whose Son Jesus Christ was wonderfully transfigured
before chosen witnesses upon the holy mountain,
and spoke of the exodus he would accomplish at Jerusalem:
give us strength so to hear his voice and bear our cross
that in the world to come we may see him as he is;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The Lord is king: let the earth rejoice;
let the multitude of the isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and burns up his enemies on every side.
His lightnings lit up the world;
the earth saw it and trembled.
The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declared his righteousness,
and all the peoples have seen his glory.
Confounded be all who worship carved images
and delight in mere idols.
Bow down before him, all you gods.
Zion heard and was glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoiced,
because of your judgements, O Lord.
For you, Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
The Lord loves those who hate evil;
he preserves the lives of his faithful
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light has sprung up for the righteous
and joy for the true of heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he 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 at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
In all our lifetimes there have been momentous events. Many people tell us they can remember where they were when ‘such and such’ an event took place. I can certainly remember the assassination of President Kennedy, the first moon landing, the murder of John Lennon and the 9/11 atrocity. I am sure you will all have events like these that are firmly fixed in your memories. Or, were you weighed down with sleep and missed all that was of special note in your lives?
In today’s reading we hear of the moment of Jesus’ transfiguration. Jesus, who was once again in prayer on the mountain, is changed, just as Moses was changed when he had been in the presence of God. Jesus’ face and clothes became dazzling, and he was seen to be standing in the presence of the two greatest figures from the history of the Jewish nation. Jesus was transfigured from a very special human being into the one who was proclaimed: my Son, my Chosen. Yesterday we heard of Peter declaring Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Today we hear of that fact being revealed in all its glory.
As well as being a momentous moment in the history of the Christian Church, our reading contains a couple of details of which we should take special note. The disciples, we are told, were weighed down with sleep. That is precisely how we feel for much of the time. We are not awake and alert to the presence of God in our lives. Too often we miss the ‘big events’ because we succumb to that overwhelming desire to be spiritually asleep, rather than active in God’s service.
After the Transfiguration, the disciples kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. The Transfiguration took place before the events of the first Holy Week and Easter. Keeping quiet until the reality of Christ’s mission made sense in those days. But, that is not where we are in the history of Christianity. We are post-resurrection people. We have been commissioned to spread the Good News and to tell everyone of the revealed glory of Jesus Christ, the one whose glory shone out on that mountainside two thousand years ago.
Then, the voice from the cloud said: listen to him! We are all called to stay awake and to listen for Christ’s call and Christ’s commission in our lives. We are all called to witness those momentous events which reveal the glory of Christ in this world. Let us pray that we might be invigorated to be willing and energetic disciples. Let us pray that we might not keep silent, but rather shout the Good News from the rooftops.
Prayers of intercession
In the light of the divine glory let us pray to the Lord.
Grant that the Church may be strong and holy, guided by the glorious vision which has been revealed to her. Give wisdom to those who lead her worship, that the light of the Scriptures may shine through their words.
Raise the eyes of those who walk in doubt and darkness, to see the glory that has come into the world. May all who hold power know whose power stands above them, and rule with justice and humility.
In our homes, in our work, in all that we do, may we remember that we are always in the presence of the Lord and ask him to order our lives. Give to all in our community the joy of the disciples who stood beside him and heard the voice of God.
We pray for all whose joy in life has been taken away by sickness or sorrow or any suffering. May they know the healing presence of Jesus who went from the holy mountain to follow the way of the Cross.
We give thanks for those who have gone from this world into greater glory. Grant them new life in the holy presence which will never pass away.
May these our prayers be accepted in the name of Jesus Christ, glorified, humbled and exalted for our sake.
Prayer for the week
Lord, may we live in faith,
walk in love,
and be renewed in hope,
until the world reflects your glory
and you are all in all.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.