Worship for Sunday 11h February 2024, by Rev. Caroline Wickens

Invitation to Worship

God of all,

You have named each and every one of us as Your child.

Remind us that we are God breathed, beloved

And made with beauty and dignity.

As we gather in Your presence

 In different places,

Unify us in Your love

And join our separated voices into one song of worship to You. Amen

Hymn: StF 28  Jesus calls us here to meet him

  1. Jesus calls us here to meet him,

as through word and song and prayer

we affirm God’s promised presence,

where his people live and care.

Praise the God who keeps his promise;

praise the Son who calls us friends;

praise the Spirit who, among us,

to our hopes and fears attends.

  1. Jesus calls us to confess him,

Word of Life and Lord of All,

sharer of our flesh and frailness,

saving all who fail or fall.

Tell his holy human story;

tell his tales that all may hear;

tell the world that Christ in glory,

came to earth to meet us here.


  1. Jesus calls us to each other:

vastly different though we are;

creed and colour, class and gender,

neither limit nor debar.

Join the hand of friend and stranger;

join the hands of age and youth;

join the faithful and the doubter,

in their common search for truth.

John Bell (b.1949) and Graham Maule (b.1958) © 1989 WGRG Iona Community


God of Love,

We give You thanks and praise for all that You have done for us.

For the joy of family and friends, and the refreshment we find in the company of others.

For the beauty of creation as spring follows winter.

For the inspiration and challenge of human creativity in all its forms.

For the continuing commitment of those who have a vision for a better future.

For the beauty and diversity that enrich us

when we open ourselves to the gift of difference.

God, we raise our voices in thanks to You.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.

Living God,

In whom we find fullness of life,

Clothe Your people with thankfulness,

Light up our worship with Your light and love,

That we may know Your presence among us.

We take time to bring to mind those things that we are grateful for

(pause to remember all that God is doing for us)

Living God,

In whom we find fullness of life,

Receive our thanks and adoration

As we lift our prayers to You,

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Hymn: StF 6  Father, we love you

  1. Father, we love you

We worship and adore you

Glorify your name in all the earth

Glorify your name

Glorify your name

Glorify your name in all the earth

  1. Jesus, we love you

We worship and adore you

Glorify your name in all the earth

Glorify your name

Glorify your name

Glorify your name in all the earth


  1. Spirit, we love you

We worship and adore you

Glorify your name in all the earth

Glorify your name

Glorify your name

Glorify your name in all the earth

Donna Adkins (b.1940), © 1996 CCCM Music/Maranatha Music

Bible reading: Mark 9:2 – 9

2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.


‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power’.

Those were the words Jesus spoke to his disciples just before the story of his journey up the mountain with Peter, James and John, into that moment when he was revealed to them in all his glory. The Gospels do not link stories by accident – it seems to me that the story of the Transfiguration gives shape to that promise. The three disciples see that the kingdom of God has come with power in the person of Jesus. They have learnt to know this man as teacher and leader. Now they see that he is far more, that in him the power and the glory and the kingdom of God are made real as he stands alongside Moses and Elijah, the greatest of God’s people from long ago.

So, of course, they want to stay in that moment – we all would. There, at the top of the mountain, they find light and hope and a vision of all that the world can be, blazing with the glory of God. And though they are terrified, yet they can imagine nothing better than remaining on the mountain top and sharing life forever with the great servants of God who are there at their side.

As a child, I learnt Samuel Greg’s hymn ‘Stay, Master, stay upon this heavenly hill’. The words are an urgent prayer from the disciples, but they lead to Jesus’ reply  ‘No, saith the Lord, the hour is past; we go’. The point of seeing the kingdom of God in power is to resource and enable the difficult work of bringing that kingdom in the lives of people who suffer and struggle. Again, it’s no accident that immediately after this story, Mark tells us how Jesus heals a little boy when the disciples could do nothing to help. Jesus is straight back to work, channelling God’s power to make a difference in the lives of those who are sick and vulnerable.

On this Sunday before Lent, there are particular spaces where we are asked to think about how we respond to Jesus’ call to make a difference. This is Racial Justice Sunday, and we are invited to remember especially those who are seeking sanctuary among us as they flee from trauma and persecution in their home countries. They encounter a hostile environment and high-publicity decisions such as the option to send people to Rwanda or house them on the Bibby Stockholm. Not all of them make it; most weeks bring heart-breaking stories of children and families drowned in the Channel’s freezing waters. What difference does it make to recognise Jesus’ kingdom of power and love as a space for all people, not just home for a few?

And then it’s also Churches Against Poverty Sunday. Their theme of ‘Dreamers who Do’ also gives us much to think about in light of the Transfiguration story. Peter, James and John might have seemed like dreamers to those who heard their tale of light and visions, but the proof that they are telling the truth is their commitment to the hard work of reshaping society, coping with one problem at a time and challenging others to join in. In a world where so many children grow up in horror, fear and hunger, what does it mean to dream the dreams of God’s kingdom and then do all we can to put it into practice?

The story of the Transfiguration ends as Jesus tells his disciples not to share the story until he rises from the dead. When they did tell the tale, it fitted into a wider picture of Jesus, Lord of all. Yet the disciples never forgot that the vision of glory goes with the commitment to work until all people know the freedom of the children of God – and we need to hold fast to that same commitment. Today, we are asked to remember racial justice and poverty, twin causes of need and distress. Can we do so as people whose lives are changed and inspired by the vision of God’s kingdom made real in Jesus Christ?   

Prayer of confession

God of truth,
when we won’t go far enough in speaking out for justice…
When we won’t go far enough out of our comfort zone…
When we won’t go far enough in taking responsibility for our behaviour…
When we won’t go far enough in meeting the needs of those around us…
Forgive us and help us to change, to grow, and to appreciate fully all that you have done for us – in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hymn: StF 260  Swiftly pass the clouds of glory

  1. Swiftly pass the clouds of glory,

   Heaven’s voice, the dazzling light;

   Moses and Elijah vanish;

   Christ alone commands the height!

   Peter, James, and John fall silent,

   Turning from the summit’s rise

   Down toward the shadowed valley

   Where their Lord has fixed His eyes.

  1. Glimpsed and gone the revelation,

   They shall gain and keep its truth,

   Not by building on the mountain

   Any shrine or sacred booth,

   But by following the Saviour

   Through the valley to the cross

   And by testing faith’s resilience

   Through betrayal, pain, and loss.


  1. Lord, transfigure our perception

   With the purest light that shines,

   And recast our life’s intentions

   To the shape of Your designs,

   Till we seek no other glory

   Than what lies past Calvary’s hill

   And our living and our dying

   And our rising by Your will.                             

Thomas Troeger (1945 – 2022), © 1994 OUP

Prayers for the need of the world

We pray for the work of organisations and individuals who respond to the Gospels and challenge us all to speak out for a society where all can reclaim their dignity, agency and power. May their vision inspire us, and encourage us all to dream and act for a better world, in our homes, our churches and our wider communities.

We pray for ourselves, that we will be open and willing to listen to the experiences of those gripped by poverty, taking time to understand its effects on individuals, families and our wider society. Let us pray too that with those affected by poverty, we may have the courage to dream new dreams of a fairer, different future, and be prepared to take action and speak out to make it happen.

God of love and mercy,

send us out as those whose hopes have been raised,

whose vision is broadened, and whose dreams are now revived.

May we turn dreams into deeds for a new world,

… where the manifesto of Jesus becomes reality:

… where there is joy and good news for the poor;

… where both poor and rich are released from their prisons;

… where the destitute and the devalued find new freedoms;

… and where many recover their sight for the deep changes that are needed.

So shall waters break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert, and the ransomed of the Lord return with everlasting joy upon their heads, and sorrow and sighing flee away, and we shall see, in our day, the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.

May it be so under the power and providence of God’s Spirit within us.

May it be so in the vision of Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth.

May it be so in the new world which God has made ready for us


Hymn: StF 611    Brother, sister, let me serve you

  1. Brother, sister, let me serve you;

let me be as Christ to you;

pray that I may have the grace to

let you be my servant too.

  1. We are pilgrims on a journey,

and companions on the road;

we are here to help each other

walk the mile and bear the load.

  1. I will hold the Christlight for you

in the nighttime of your fear;

I will hold my hand out to you,

speak the peace you long to hear.

  1. I will weep when you are weeping;

when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;

I will share your joy and sorrow,

till we’ve seen this journey through.

  1. When we sing to God in heaven,

we shall find such harmony,

born of all we’ve known together

of Christ’s love and agony.

  1. Brother, sister, let me serve you;

let me be as Christ to you;

pray that l may have the grace to

let you be my servant too.

Richard Gillard, © 1977 Scripture in Song



God, who brought heaven close to earth,

You journey with us

As we seek to follow Jesus.

May Your generous Spirit

Open our hearts to receive love,

Open our mouths to speak compassionately,

Open our eyes to see Your signs and wonders,

And open our hands to share peace with friend and stranger.


Worship material drawn from re:worship, Churches against Poverty and CTBI Racial Justice Sunday, reproduced under CCLI licence 263530