Feast of the Transfiguration
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’
While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, ‘Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’
Something to Do
Gather your nearest and dearest
While I’m sure Jesus loved all his followers, he seems to have had a special relationship with Peter, James, and John and often took them with him when he needed some quiet time.
Who are your Peter, James, and John? Connect with them this week, whether in person or with the wonder of technology.
Offer a prayer for them and don’t forget to say thank you to both God and them for their friendship.
“Get up and do not be afraid”
These were the words Jesus spoke to his disciples. They are the words Jesus speaks to us.
Is there something you are afraid of? How might you face that fear this week?
Get Ready for Lent
This Sunday is the last before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (February 26). We will be burying the Alleluias, not to be returned to us until Easter Day. Bring your own Alleluia to include in the box.
This also means it’s time to get ready for Lent, the great season of purification and preparation through the practices of fasting, prayer, study, and generousity. How will you focus your attention on God’s will for you and for the world so that you are more ready to respond in courage and faith?
Consider joining in some shared practices.
- Fasting: How much single-use plastic can you give up? Whenever you are inconvenienced, pray for strenght. Whenever you find yourself needing to use some, pray for transformation.
- Prayer: Say morning and evening prayer each day. Rhonda will be at the church at 9:30am on Mondays-Thursdays but you can always join in wherever you are. Use this simplified prayer service and know you are not praying alone.
- Study: Join the Thursday Bible Study and Communion (10 a.m.) or the Story at the Rectory (March 5, 19, April 2 at 7:30) for a close read of (different) passages from the Gospel according to John. Attend the Lenten Quiet Day to read the entire book.
- Acts of Generousity: Choose an amount of money to set aside each day for giving to the Ascension Refugee Ministry or another ministry you feel called to support.
Something to Wonder
Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus
What do you think they were talking about, as Jesus prepares himself to head to Jerusalem and all that awaits him there?
Do you think Jesus had questions for them? What might they have been?
If you could choose two people from the Bible to meet on a mountaintop for a conversation, who would they be?
“It is good for us to be here”
What are the places where you have felt close to God and wished you could just stay there; places where is was good for you to be? What were those places like? How did they feel?
What was it like to leave those places? Have you been able to go back?
Something to Learn
Looking to Lent
The history of Lent is, of course, long and complicated. These three articles offer you a brief overview from a few perspectives.
“The Early History of Lent” by Nicholas V. Russo from The Centre for Christian Ethics at Baylor University is about 6 pages of very readable scholarship.
“A Short History of Lent” by Norman Tanner SJ offers a Jesuit’s perspective on the history.
“A Short Version of the Long History of Lent” by Christopher Hunt offers a perspective from the Evangelical tradition.
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.