Worship for Sunday 19th February 2023, by Rev. Sharon Read

Call to worship:

Let us draw near to our awesome God.
We bring our praise and adoration.
We bring ourselves, our memories and our hopes,
in expectation of meeting with our Lord,
whose presence is all around us.
In Jesus, God is with us.

Hymn: STF 55 Immortal Invisible

A prayer of approach

‘The Lord is king, let the peoples tremble!’
Lord, we praise your great and awesome name,
you are the holy one.
Today we draw close to you,
to be still and to listen,
to be mesmerised by your dazzling brightness.
Meet us today, Lord, in this place.

Prayer of adoration

Most mighty and exalted Lord,
we come today to praise and worship you.
We thank you for your glory,
for your power and your majesty
that transforms our lives into your likeness.
You shone like the noonday sun;
as you revealed your glory on the mountaintop,
reveal yourself and shine on us today.
We worship you most beloved Son of God.

A prayer of confession

Transforming God,
we come to the foot of your cross
and say sorry when we don’t listen.
We are sorry when we miss you in the midst of our lives,
when we fail to glimpse you,
even when you are shining so bright before us.

We are sorry when we are afraid and don’t trust you,
when we fall asleep, absorbed in our own lives,
when we make our own conclusions and don’t involve you,
when we think we know best.
Help us to always seek refuge in you,
to be transformed by your brightness,
and draw closer to you.

Assurance of forgiveness

Awesome God,
we are your beloved and our home is in you.
We are forgiven and transformed into your likeness.
You make us whole.

Additional Readings: Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2; 2 Peter 1:16-21

The Transfiguration: Matthew 17:1-9

17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Hymn: STF 20  Be still, for the presence of the Lord


The transfiguration of Jesus – wow wow wow!! Wouldn’t you have loved to have been one of those 3 disciples. In 2016 I stood at the top of the mount of Transfiguration in the Holy Land and looked all around. The sun was shining, it was a hot day and you could see for miles all around. WOW!! I remember reading this passage and having my own holy moment up there.

Jesus didn’t invite all the disciples up the mountain with him – just Peter, James and John. He was in control of all that was happening. A week before, Jesus had been warning them about the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadduces. Jesus had asked who people say that he was and asked them to not share that He was the Messiah. He spoke to his disciples about his suffering to come. Then after all that – the 3 disciples were on the mountain witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus was transformed before them – not just an outward change but a striking effect that Jesus became so bright that He was difficult to look at. It was the face of Jesus that shone so bright. Remarkably, these two Old Testaments persons appeared: Moses and Elijah and spoke with Jesus. They were representing the Law and Prophets that had gone before. A bright cloud overshadowed them: the cloud of God’s glory that in the Old Testament is called the shekinah. From this cloud of glory, interrupting the disciple Peter talking, God spoke ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!’ God was reminding the three disciples to listen to Jesus – a reminder of the previous week when Jesus warned them against other teachings. And the disciples response to all that just happened, was to lie face down on the ground in fear. This experience overpowered them not empowered them until Jesus asked them not to be afraid and get up. And as they did they saw Jesus, their friend, their master, their rabbi, The Messiah. The transfiguration of Jesus reassures the disciples that Jesus is the Messiah even if He would be crucified as He had previously revealed.

When was the last time you were caught up in an experience like this? When did God take your breath away and perhaps want to kneel or lie before him?

Jesus and the disciples returned down the mountain and the disciples were asked not to speak of what had happened until after the resurrection when it would have made sense. We can only guess that when Easter day came, they met Jesus alive again that they clearly understood what Jesus had meant on the mountain. This moment no doubt carried them through all the days to come.

As we begin Lent this coming week, let us make time to seek Jesus and listen to Him as God told the disciples. Let us make time to seek transformation in our own lives and may God help us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and grasp a brighter vision of Christ’s sacrifice of love for us upon the cross. Amen.

Hymn: STF 518         Father hear the prayer we offer

Prayers of Intercession

Response after each bidding:

May they know your affirming presence,
and glimpse your glory.

Gracious God,
we pray for those whose lives have taken them to places of regret…
We pray for those whose disappointments have taken them to places of despair…
We pray for those whose experiences of betrayal have taken them to places of loneliness…
We pray for ourselves where experiences have left us sad and demoralised…
In Jesus’ name we pray.

Questions to ponder:

Take a few moments to look again at the reading from Matthew: what stands out to you in this passage? Have you had any experiences, seen anything, that has made to feel God was close to you or you close to God? A sunrise, a view, a sunset, a beautiful moment? Can we encourage one another simply by telling our stories. The next time you have an experience – write it down, give thanks and make a note to share your experience with others.

Song: These are the days of Elijah

Or STF 261 Transfigured Christ, none comprehends.


Closing prayers

God above in glory (lift up hands)
God over all the world (make globe shape)
God all around us (hug self)
We want to see you (shade eyes, look around)
We want to hear you (cup hand to ear)
We want to tell others (hands over mouth like a megaphone)
so everyone can know how awesome you are. (wave hands high)

Awesome God,
your glory shines all around us.
Help us to use all our senses to know how close you are.
Give us words to tell everyone that you are there for them too.

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