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9th Sunday after Pentecost

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):

Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; make known his deeds among the peoples.

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Exodus 34:29-35
00:00 / 01:20

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

2 Peter 1:13-21
00:00 / 01:45

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint Luke.

Luke 9:28-36
00:00 / 02:13

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Reflecting The Glory
00:00 / 11:51

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon Ordinary 18, 6th August 2023

MAY the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>

I hope those of you who have been here over the previous weeks have noticed that the whole “following Jesus thing” takes us to some pretty strange, exciting and challenging places. We’ve been reminded of Jesus’ words to “Turn the other cheek” rather than fight back. Then there’s the fact that Jesus is always welcoming those on the margins, the odd-ones-out, those that push our boundaries of comfort and custom. Not to mention the rather unsettling core of our faith - that God came to us as a human being and died on a cross to save us from ourselves.

Yup - the whole “Jesus thing” is a bit strange when you think about it.

Now, today, along with congregations all around the world, we celebrate the “Transfiguration of our Lord”. Now “transfiguration” is not a word one uses much in everyday conversation. In fact, it’s one of those words that doesn’t get much use at all, outside of church that is. It’s rather like the word, “prodigal” from the “story of the prodigal son.” “Prodigal” means, “one who spends resources freely or over-extravagantly.” But we seem to never use “prodigal” outside of the Bible. Even when Kim and I have a money conversation, we never seem to talk about “prodigal” spending … no, not even if she comes home with another pair of shoes!

Transfiguration is another strange ‘churchy’ word that I dare you to use in regular conversation. I had to look it up. ‘Transfiguration’ is akin to ‘transformation’ but ‘transfiguration’ focuses on appearance. So when Jesus appeared in dazzling white in our story today, we say he was “transfigured” - dramatically changed in appearance.

‘Transfiguration’ can also signal a change that glorifies or exalts somebody - which fits the narrative as well.

So, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray and when they arrived it was Jesus’ clothes that shone in a dazzling white. Then, we read that Moses and Elijah appeared and started talking to Jesus.

Now Peter and his companions were pretty tired, the writer says, but Peter, struck by the amazing happenings around him asked Jesus if he could make some tents for Moses, Elijah and Jesus, hoping that they might “hang around for a bit”. Then, practically as soon as Peter spoke these words, Moses and Elijah were eclipsed by a cloud and disappeared. And a voice boomed through the cloud, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

The disciples are often cast as not the brightest of guys, but even Peter, James, and John could work this transfiguration out. God was identifying Jesus with the glory of Moses and Elijah, but also upping the ante. Jesus was God’s very son. So they should listen while they could, for God’s shining moments sometimes pass away quickly. Just as Moses and Elijah departed, so too would Jesus. They didn’t know it yet, but his departure would be on a cross, and it would mark a beginning as much as an end.

It’s easy to be hard on Peter here, but let’s not blame him. Peter was trying to be helpful, trying to preserve the perfect moment when Jesus was shining in radiance on the mountaintop with Moses and Elijah. Peter had forgotten his digital camera that day, so he tried to mark the moment by building tents for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus to stay.

But, Peter’s attempt to enshrine his mountaintop experience wasn’t what Jesus had in mind.

Faithfulness is not achieved by freezing a moment but by following on in confidence that God is leading and that what lies ahead is even greater than what we have already experienced.

Peter tries to stop time, to mark the moment, but he couldn’t pull it off. Neither can we. The phrase, “time flies” is one of culture’s most ancient. Any parent will tell you that no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop a child from growing up.

We can’t stop time. We can’t enshrine the moment. Rather than looking at this as a problem, let’s welcome the challenge.

I said the word, “transfiguration” is pretty close to “transformation.” They both mean a type of change. Like it or not life is transformed every minute of every day. But “transfiguration” points to a change in appearance as well.

A change in how we see, AND in how WE are seen.

So how do you see the world? How has the world been transfigured as a result of Jesus Christ? In small ways or large, how do YOU reflect the dazzling appearance of the glory that Christ gives you?

Today is “Transfiguration of our Lord Sunday”, a weird phrase for a strange narrative? As I said, this “following Jesus thing” is never dull, rather it’s always exciting.

But … maybe it’s the right word\phrase after all.

Maybe it’s helpful to be reminded that though WE can grow weary, though WE grow dim, YET the one whose shining glory we reflect is still calling us to spread the word that Jesus is God’s son; that WE ARE a transfigured people because of this great good news.

As we glimpse God’s glory in the Bible narratives, as we catch a view of the movement of the Spirit among us here today, may we reflect God’s glory too.

Reflect the radiance of Christ in your life and to God will be the glory.

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.
 

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

apostles_creed_pic02.jpg
Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

Mighty God, it is good that we are gathered here, from around Your world, to worship You in love and fellowship and so we make our prayers to You trusting in Your power to transfigure and heal.  Help us to set our faces steadfastly to where You would have us go. <AMEN>

(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

In response to the call today “Lord, in Your Mercy” Our plea is, “Hear our prayer”

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Faithful God, we ask that you look with favour on your people as we proclaims Your beloved Son to the world whilst always listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  May we be clothed in dazzling splendour, changed and renewed in holiness and always reflect Your glory in the world.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Father God, we pray for Your troubled world.  May all that encourages people in goodness, honesty and compassion be blessed and grow; may all that encourages self-seeking and cruelty, prejudice and deceit, wither and be exposed as the unsatisfying rubbish it is. May we learn from one another’s cultures and respect one another’s differences.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Holy God, we pray for the people of the world especially for those who feel excluded, exploited or ignored. We pray that as God’s people we may work to build a communities as open and generous as God’s love shown to us in Christ Jesus.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Holy God, We pray that You will bring healing in mind, body and spirit to all who are troubled. We pray that in lives darkened by any kind of pain, distress or grief the light of Christ will bring comfort, hope and a sense of God’s all-encompassing love.

We now raise before you those who have asked for our prayers … Rose, Mark, Fiona , Alison, David, Barbara, Lynley, Andrew, Glenys, Paul, Sally (in New Zealand), Sam (in Singapore), Santiago, Alexandro, Marya (in Argentina), Dominque, Xavier, Melanie (in France), John, Geoff, Liz (in Australia) and others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you. <PAUSE>

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.
Merciful God, look with mercy upon the departed that they may see Your salvation and find their eternal peace and final rest in You.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Heavenly father, in a moment of silence we place before you our personal prayers for ourselves, our families, our friends, for all of those whom we love and, for our personal ministries.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Gracious God, we thank You for this time together in prayer and as we look forward to the week to come, we pray for an awareness of Your love and support in all we do.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Forth in the peace of Christ we go; Christ to the world with joy we bring; Christ in our minds, Christ on our lips, Christ in our hearts, the world’s true King.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

lord's_prayer_pic01_edited.jpg

Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:
 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,

your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.   Amen.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:

 

God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and

 

The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.

 

Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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