a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

confession: afraid to see

Holy God,
when you call us to hope and to act with great boldness,
we tremble at your presence and cover our eyes.
We are afraid of what we will see
for your greatness unveils our weakness,
your justice unveils our brokenness,
and your holiness unveils our stained past.
O Lord, hear our prayer.

Giver of all grace, forgive us our sins.
Give us the strength to renounce that which hides you from us.
Give us the wisdom to execute justice and righteousness.
Give us the courage to uncover our hearts
that we might see the grace of your Son
and not lose heart.

 

Submitted by Stephen Fearing.

What Peter Wished He’d Said

I’m a fisherman, Lord, not a mountain climber.
I know sunburn, not radiance.
I know the fog of the sea, not heavenly mists.
I know the seagull’s call, not Mysterious Voices.
I know my yesterdays, not my future days.
But I also know You, Jesus.
And you, I will follow:
Back down the mountain,
to Jerusalem,
to an upper room,
to a midnight garden,
to a cross…

Submitted by Jerie Messer Lukefahr, elder St. Mark Presbyterian in Ballwin MO, CRE in training

CTW: come to the mountain

Leader: Come to the mountain, you people of God.
All: We come to hear God’s Word.
Leader: Come, you sisters, to proclaim God’s greatness,
Women: for the Lord is righteous and just!
Leader: Come, you brothers, to proclaim God’s goodness,
Men: for the Lord is the Holy One!
Leader: Come, you youth, to proclaim God’s brilliance,
Youth: for the Lord is clothed with light!
Leader: Come, you people, to the mountain of God
All: for we are gathered to worship our Lord!

 

Submitted by Stephen Fearing.

illumination: reveal

Reveal your presence to us this day,

O God of light, love, and glory.

As you did to your servants at the foot of the mountain,

send your Spirit to show us your story.

May the brilliance of your face

illuminate this place

as we dare to proclaim your Word

and may we, your people, be never unable

to tell all of that we have heard.

 

Submitted by Stephen Fearing.

confession: you call us, and we…

One:  You call us to the mountaintop, to see you as you really are.

All:  We follow, curious and wondering—but when we see your glory, we are speechless and afraid.

One:  You call us down the mountain, into the valleys of fear, into the shadow of death, into the streets and alleys, into the living rooms and kitchens and classrooms,

All:  and we come slowly, lingering in the light, catching reflected glory, enjoying our separate-ness.

One:  You call us to follow you into homeless shelters and halls of power, and in each to take off our shoes on this holy ground,

All:  and we look around in disgust, unwilling to see your holiness there.

One:  Forgive our narrow vision.

All:  When we see you in the beauty of creation and miss you in the pain of your people, forgive us, O God.

When we long for your voice and use our voices to shut you out, forgive us, O God.

When we would rather everyone just keep their shoes on, comfortable and ready to run, forgive us, O God.

One:  Draw us near to you and fill us with your Spirit, that we may know your holiness in every place and every person, not only where we want to see.

All:  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

confession: change on our terms

We pray for change.
We pray for transformation.
We pray for transfiguration.
We pray that the world around us will be changed to suit our needs,
to agree with us,
to be like the world we want.
We do not give space for God’s work,
trying to control it,
thinking we know best.
We pray for change—but only on our terms.

God, forgive us for praying for everyone but us to change.
God, forgive us for thinking we know best.
God, be with us.
Strengthen us for the hard work of personal change,
for the difficult task of trusting you,
for the uneasy feeling that we might be wrong.

God be with us, and show us the way to new life.
Submitted by Rev. Greg Bolt, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Nebraska City, Nebraska

prayer after communion: shining in glory

Lord Jesus,
we have seen you shining in glory on the mountaintop
and joining us in bread and cup here at this table.
Strengthen us by these glimpses of your glory,
that your kingdom might be known and your love be shown
shining brightly in our lives and in our world,
until the day of your full appearing.
Alleluia! Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, New York

call to offering: transfigured and regenerated

This Sunday, commonly known as Transfiguration Sunday, we remember the appearance of Jesus to his disciples on the mountain with evidence that his mission ranked him alongside the likes of Moses and Elijah. Certainly a triumphal moment if there ever was one!

Jesus is transfigured on the mountaintop. But sitting down and beholding the triumphal glory isn’t the point. Jesus is who he is regardless of whether he is dressed in glowing glory or in more humble attire. What transfigures in this encounter is us, in that we become the love that he is as we look upon him. In the folds of his garments, whiter than any earthly hand could bleach, is to be found all the love that is, or was, or shall ever be. We, like the disciples, want to build a tent around that love, bind it to the spot, make it stay, not trusting that there is more than enough of it, inexhaustible and endless; and that in giving and sharing it, there is always more of it there.

Let us give of ourselves this day, not as if we feared for our own destruction, but in confidence that God in Christ can take the things and selves we give and can–and will– transfigure and regenerate them.

Submitted by Brian Cubbage, Elder at Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Louisville, KY)

prayers of the people: seeking

Prayers of the People (based on Isaiah 55:6-13)

Lord, we have come seeking you this morning,
knowing that you are near,
believing that you want to be found.
We have confessed our sins,
Of word and deed
Of silence and apathy
We give thanks for your mercy and pardon,
freely given as we turn to you.

With feet firmly on the ground, the sky seems so very distant.
And though we feel your presence as close as the embrace of a loved one,
Our understanding of you – of your thoughts and your ways –
Remains as distant as the clouds.
And yet we trust you.

We trust that your Spirit
Will enliven and enlighten us, illuminating the Scriptures.
Like rain and snow provide healing water for the earth
Your Word quenches the thirst of our hearts

You send rain, You sent your Son,
You send your Spirit, You sent your Word
All to accomplish what you desire
Each to achieve purposes you ordained.

And you send us
Like the grain that buds and flourishes in fertile ground
We live to offer seeds of hope and the bread of life to our neighbors

We look to the day, Holy One, when you lead us out in joy and peace
When the mountains and trees sing and clap
And people sing out in praise of the one who was, and is, and is to come

But for now, we trust that
When we turn our faces to you,
When we lift our hearts and prayers to you
You will hear
We come as people ready to move mountains.
We come as people borrowing the faith of others
Trusting our pleas will achieve their purposes.

~specific concerns may be spoken~

We pray all of this, as well as those things left unspoken, in the name of Jesus the Christ…

Submitted by Laura Viau, Orlando, FL (MDiv student at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary)

Other…

The bulletin is probably printed, but there’s always more, isn’t there? There are children’s sermons, calls to confession, prayers of dedication, blessings, prayers for illumination…what images or words or phrases are you working with in the Other Parts this week? What theme are you hoping to carry through even when it’s not printed in the bulletin?

This week our call to confession and declaration of forgiveness are mountain-toppy. What do you have to share?

So often we think we understand, we think we know what God should be doing. But when we let our guard down and speak the truth about our confusion, God’s grace enters in. So we take this time to be honest about our limitations and our failures. Let us pray.

(prayer of confession)

On the mountaintop, Christ shows us who he truly is, and it is dazzling. On the mountaintop, Christ shows us who we truly are—children of God whose lives are made new by God’s grace and by the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Friends, believe and live this good news—in Jesus Christ, we can shine light for the world. Thanks be to God. Amen.