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Worship, Prayer and Bible Study Resources

Transfiguration

Liturgical Colour - Green


Introduction   The Transfiguration

The church remembers on this Sunday an occasion when Jesus went up a mountain with his closest disciples Peter, John and James. It is called the Transfiguration because Jesus changed, his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning and the disciples saw Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. A cloud appeared and a voice saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." It is an extraordinary moment, but what does it mean?

The Transfiguration provides us with a glimpse of another world. It is an opportunity to remind ourselves that there is a reality beyond the world around around us which is greater than we can simply see and touch. There is potential and possibilities available to us through the presence of God, greater than most people could ever imagine.

The Transfiguration challenges us to think in a new way, just as the disciples see Jesus in a new way. They understand the presence of God in an amazing experience, from now on everything will be different. 
 


Opening Verses of Scripture  Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
 

Collect Prayer for the Day

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.
 

First Bible Reading Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14

9-10   "As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
 

11 "Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.
12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)
 

13-14  "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

 

Second Reading   2 Peter 1:16-19

We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.


Gospel Reading    Luke 9:28-36

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

 

Post Communion Sentence

Holy God, we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ: may we who are partakers at his table reflect his life in word and deed, that all the world may know his power to change and save. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Commentary


"for a brief moment the curtain . . . is drawn aside," and the disciples are "allowed to see in Jesus something of the glory of God and God's kingdom, of that other life to which human eyes are otherwise blind."

Eduard Schweitzer
 

Jesus had just spoken of death and suffering and the disciples were afraid. Then the disciples saw Moses and Elijah! They must have been even more terrified. The disciples feared over so much, they were paralysed with fear, we too can be fearful without need. There is much over which we can be afraid, this episode gave the disciples something which would give them strength in the days ahead. This was an opportunity upon which they could reflect. This moment was something which they could not hold onto in time, but they could hold it in their hearts and draw strength from it. It was a God - given encouragement. So it was to be, indeed Peter spoke about it later: we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty [2 Peter 1:16-18].


We have all had some experience of the wonder of God. Sometimes it comes to us through the appreciation of nature, sometimes, indeed, on a mountain. But we all have to come back down the mountain and get on with real life, and most of our time is spent at the bottom of the mountain in the valleys of life. The ministry of Jesus could not be conducted from the mountain top, it was instead something carried out on the cross of suffering. But when the disciples were tempted to give up and think that the Christian service to which they were called was a hopeless cause, they were to look back and remember Christ as they knew him in the Transfiguration, clothed in glory
 

Meditation

peace craneA meditation for August 6, the anniversary of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima in 1945
 

Statue of Sadako holding a golden crane at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial War has lasting effects.

The gospel story of the transfiguration is about seeing in a new way. The disciples see Jesus in a new way. They understand the presence of God in an amazing experience. Everything now looks different. In the midst of our complex contemporary world, the gospel invites us to be free enough to see things in a new way. In the midst of war and violence, the gospel invites us to see the presence of God and God’s invitation to peace. In the midst of poverty and injustice, the gospel invites us to hear God's invitation to respect the dignity of every human person and the need for justice and peace for all.

In some way we (as individuals and as a world community) need a "transfiguration experience" to see things in a new way – from the point of view of Christ, from the point of view of the poor and powerless, from the point of view of other cultures. The Transfiguration is a sign of great hope. The disciples discover that it is possible to see the presence of God in Jesus. It is possible to see things in a new way.

Long after the aggression has ceased, negative effects remain. Japan is just one of numerous countries that continue to be plagued by the effects of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The story of Sadako Sasaki provides a starting point for this discussion on the need for peace. Sadako was a baby of two on August 6, 1945, unaware of the war that raged around her. On that day she lost more than her grandmother as an atomic bomb reduced the city of Hiroshima to a desert of destruction and radioactive wasteland. She survived the initial blast with seemingly no ill effects.

Ten years passed and Sadako grew strong and swift. It was as she was practicing for a competition that she crumpled to the track and was taken to the hospital. There her worst fears were confirmed. She had developed leukemia as a result of her exposure to radiation. During her long hospital stays, Sadako began to fold paper cranes. According to Japanese legend, if an individual folds 1000 paper cranes, a wish will be granted. (It was believed that Cranes lived for 1,000 years). With each crane she folded, the wish was the same-to get well. In October of 1955, Sasako folded her last crane-number 644,and she quietly became another of the many casualties of a war that had ended ten years earlier. Her classmates finished the remaining 366 cranes to honour Sadako's memory and to share in her wish that such bombs of destruction would never be used again. The cranes were buried with her.

The children told Sadako's story to the world by sharing the letters they had exchanged during her hospital stay. Shocked by her death, her classmates put out a national call to "build a monument to mourn all the children who died from the atomic bombing." With the support of students in more than 3,100 schools around Japan and in nine other countries, including England, the Society was able to build this bronze statue that stands nine metres high. In 1958, a monument was erected in Hiroshima's Peace Park to honour Sadako and all of the children who died because of the bombs. This monument has become an international symbol of peace. Every year thousands of children visit the memorial bringing chains of folded cranes to lay at the base. Each crane is a prayer for peace-prayers and wishes that number in the millions. On the top of the three-legged pedestal stands the bronze figure of a girl holding up a gold-coloured "folded" crane. On opposite sides of the pedestal are suspended boy and girl figures symbolizing a bright future and hope. On the stone underneath the pedestal is inscribed, 'This is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in this world.'

The monument was created by Kazuo Kikuchi, then a professor of Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music.

Helpful links

http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/kids/

For August 6 ' In the face of the man-made calamity that every war is, one must affirm and reaffirm, again and again, that the waging of war is not inevitable or unchangeable. Humanity is not destined to self-destruction. Clashes of ideologies, aspirations and needs can and must be settled and resolved by means other than war and violence.   Pope John Paul II, Appeal for Peace, Hiroshima, Japan.

Hymns

  1. Rejoice the Lord is king (Tune Gopsal)

  2. Christ triumphant

  3. Come Praise the name of Jesus (Tune Morning Light See below for words

  4. Love divine (Tune Blaenwern)

  5. Holy Christ in light transfigured (Tune Ode to Joy )   See below for words
     

 

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Prayer encouragement in the Christian life

Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian,

if it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die

 

This is our cry,
This is our prayer,
peace in the world.

Engraved on the peace memorial Hiroshima park

"In the face of the man-made calamity that every war is, one must affirm and reaffirm, again and again, that the waging of war is not inevitable or unchangeable. Humanity is not destined to self-destruction. Clashes of ideologies, aspirations and needs can and must be settled and resolved by means other than war and violence." Pope John Paul II, Appeal for Peace, Hiroshima, Japan.
 

A Prayer for the World

Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin colour.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbours.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbours.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
Amen.
---Rabbi Harold S. Kushner
----Social Justice Resources Diocese of Oakland mdoyle@oakdiocese.org

 

Response: God of Peace, lead us on the way of peace.

As we remember the atomic bombs dropped on the people of Japan 61 years ago, we pray that these weapons will never be used again.
As we hear of the recent fighting in and around Lebanon and Israel, we pray that the Holy Spirit will lead our world on a new way to peace.
As war continues in Iraq and Afghanistan, we pray for divine help to show us how to build peace.
As we experience the proliferation of weapons of all sorts all over our world, we pray that we can finally use our resources for the good of people and not for destruction.
As we see economic injustice all around us, we pray that the spirit will lead us to do what leads to justice for all.
As we recall the Transfiguration experience, we pray that we will all see in it a new way and allow our new vision to transform our actions into the way of peace and justice for all.

Hymns


Come, praise the name of Jesus  (Tune Morning Light)
for all his gracious powers,
our only God and Saviour
who makes his goodness ours;
he calls us to his kingdom,
the Lord of life and death,
to see his face in glory
and know him now by faith.
 
His virtue and his wisdom,
endurance, self control,
his godliness and kindness,
his love which crowns them all -
this is his royal nature
that we are called to share,
his robe of perfect beauty
that we are given to wear.
 
We see his shining splendour
in every sunless place
where Christ, the light of nations,
appears in truth and grace.
Transfigured by his likeness
we make the vision known,
reflecting in our faces
the radiance of his own.
 
The king of grace inspires us
to love him more and more,
to grasp our hope more firmly
and make our calling sure.
Christ Jesus, Lord and Saviour,
to this dark world you came;
and for the dawn of heaven,
we praise your holy name.
 
 
 
Holy Christ, in light transfigured,   Tune Ode to Joy
shining hope upon the earth,
brighten every place of darkness,
bring the age of truth to birth.
Point us to the great awakening,
when the world in hope shall rise:
fear and exploitation ended,
perfect peace shall be the prize.
 
Let us share the special vision,
hear the great affirming voice;
in the glorious revelation,
call creation to rejoice.
Through the darkness of oppression,
let the prophets light the way,
pointing to the peace and justice
promised on the final day.
 
Come, O Christ, in clouds of glory,
set our fervent hopes ablaze!
Offer up the new creation
to the God of ancient days.
From a thousand thousand voices,
songs of praise and joy release,
when the ending of oppression
heralds everlasting peace.