Prayers of Approach
God of all ages, in expectation we come together to hear the stories of your people long ago, and to be inspired by them. In humility, we come to hear the words of your prophets, to be challenged by them. In confidence, we come to learn how to grow into our own story, and to share it. In joy, we come to appreciate the stories of those around us, and affirm them. In unity, we come celebrate your love for each of us and for our world.
Inspirational God, from little acts of faith, you bring huge transformation; from little acts of trust, you bring huge opportunities; from little seeds, you bring huge growth; from little steps, you bring huge progress; from little showings of love, you draw us into your huge heart, and hold us as one – for you are our all, forever.
God of our setting out and of our arriving, we rejoice that, wherever we go, you go with us. When we journey together, you bless us with fellowship. When we journey alone, you bless us with courage. When we journey in the footsteps of others, you bless us with gratitude. When we journey to new places, you bless us with faith. And when we make our last journey, you bless us with the knowledge that we are safe within your eternal love – thank you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Hymn Be still for the presence of the Lord (MP 50)
Readings: 2 Kings 2:1-12
Jewish tradition held that both Moses and Elijah were lifted from earth to heaven, but the Bible tells only the story of Elijah. The dying Elijah parted the waters of the Jordan, as did his successor Elisha returning alone. They are prophets like Moses, who parted the sea as the people escaped their oppressors but neither Moses nor Elijah was accompanied when they met God on Mount Sinai whereas Jesus’ disciples were with him when, with Moses and Elijah, they were overshadowed by the cloud of God’s transforming presence.
High on a mountain, three disciples are given a vision of a gloriously transformed Jesus. They see Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus, and they are terrified. A voice says, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him.’ The disciples are dazzled by Jesus’ altered appearance. In contrast to the voice that spoke to Jesus at his baptism, this time the voice speaks directly to the disciples and tells them to ‘listen to him’, before they then head back down the mountain.
Hymn Lord the light of your love is shining (‘Shine, Jesus, shine’ MP 455)
This Sunday is the last Sunday before Lent and concludes the Epiphany themes of revelation with the transfiguration of Jesus. His appearance with Moses and Elijah places him in a succession of witness and revelation, continued by the disciples who were present, and indeed by us today. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on the challenges of being a disciple and the importance of passing on what we have received.
The disciples were dazzled by God’s glory, by Jesus’ transformation, and didn’t know what to do or what to make of it. Perhaps they could have used sunglasses – the sight of the transfigured Jesus left them dazzled in more ways than one. Peter was so confused that he just said whatever came into his mind. Being dazzled can mean being temporarily blinded, but also amazed and overwhelmed. And in the Gospel passage there is, at the same time, a sense of seeing things more acutely, differently – seeing partially (due to the dazzling effect) but also grasping something beyond the immediate view.
Mountain-top experiences have long been appreciated as a way of seeing the world differently. Perspective is altered: places that seem large when we are low down appear tiny from above. Due to their inaccessible nature, heights are often deserted places, offering solitude as well as splendour. At height we see the world from a different place. Sometimes it might feel as though we are sharing God’s view of
the world. And as if the disciples needed any more confirmation of his authority, other than the appearance of Moses and Elijah, suddenly God himself calls on them to listen to Jesus. Why was it that Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus in the transfiguration? Were they there to represent the Law and the Prophets? Or were they the ‘deathless ones’ who pointed to the resurrection to come? Being witnesses, and passing on experiences at the right moment are vital. How do we take this story and make it part of our lives today, and of all those who need to hear the good news that God has come?
Hymn How good Lord to be here (R&S 203)
Prayers of Intercession
God of glory, open our eyes and open our hearts. Help us to see Jesus.
God of glory, change us and renew us by your Spirit. Make us more like Jesus
You are the God who comes close to us: though we are far apart from each other Surround us with the light of your presence.
God of glory, we live with so many uncertainties. Today we pray for people whose lives are always uncertain: for people in war torn parts of the world; for all who wonder where their next meal will come from; for people who are jobless or homeless; for all who are fleeing from domestic violence. Help us to make our churches sanctuaries of peace and safety. May we be ready to respond to the need of others and to do what we can to tell the story of the love that will never let us go, the love that can change us and the world. You are the God who comes close to us: though we are far apart from each other Surround us with the light of your presence.
God of glory, we pray for situations in the world that need hope and healing; in particular for Yemen, for Russia and Ukraine, and for Israel and Palestine. We ask for words and actions that are full of hope and not hate, of forgiveness and unity and not division. When conflict comes may our words be controlled and kind, and may we always shine a light of truth in the darkness of discord and lies. We pray for all who work in communications and the media, that they would report with honesty and integrity, and that they would use their roles to speak truth to power. May we seek to respond to the needs of others with messages, words and actions of hope and comfort. You are the God who comes close to us: though we are far apart from each other Surround us with the light of your presence.
God of glory, we thank you for the tireless effort of nurses, doctors and consultants, caring for patients, especially those whose illnesses or injuries are life-threatening. We ask that you would give them strength and peace as they care for the sick and those who are at the end of life. We pray for those with mental health problems especially for the needs of children and young people. We pray for all who are separated from those they love; 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. You are the God who comes close to us: though we are far apart from each other Surround us with the light of your presence.
God of glory, open our eyes and open our hearts. Help us to see Jesus.
God of glory, change us and renew us by your Spirit. Make us more like Jesus. Amen.
Hymn Christ is the world’s light (R&S 600)
We go out into the world in peace as links in the chain of faith; may we be brave witnesses, sharing through word and deed the revelations we have received. Amen.
Prayers and other material (adapted) © Roots for Churches Ltd. Used by permission.