Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Shining

The Shining is our worship theme for Transfiguration Sunday, February 10, 2013. Our focus scriptures are Exodus 34:29-35 and Luke 9:28-43.

As Moses’ face reflects God’s glory, so Jesus shines before his disciples. Both experiences strike the people around them as frightening. The people of Israel draw back from Moses in fear. The disciples take cover, particularly when they are enveloped by cloud as Moses was on the top of Mt. Sinai. In both passages the glory of God’s presence causes his chosen leaders to shine. In both passages, the shining means they have something from God to convey to their followers. In Moses’ case he has the commandments of a covenant that will bring life to God’s people. In Jesus’ case, he has words about what it means to follow him that the disciples need to hear (see Luke 9:22-27).

In the Bible, God’s presence often illuminates. A bush flames. A star shines. The Word burns within and can’t be held back. A stranger sets hearts afire. Sometimes in our own experience our poor eyes are blessed to catch the glory of God shining in a face, glowing in a sunrise, or blazing in a prophetic word. May it be so…

Here are two Calls to Worship and the obvious scriptural benediction. Please use or adapt anything helpful to you.

Call to Worship    From Exodus 34:29-35

L: Remember when the people of Israel made a golden calf and Moses smashed  
     the Ten Commandments in anger at their sin? Let us recall what happened when
     he came down from Mt. Sinai the second time…
P: Moses descended from Mt. Sinai. In his hands were new stone tablets.  
L: His face shone because he was talking with God, but Moses didn’t know it.
P: When Aaron and the people saw Moses, they cowered in fear.
L: But Moses beckoned them close and spoke with them.
     He told them all the commandments that the Lord had given him.
P: When Moses finished speaking, he put a veil on his face.
L: When he went into the Tent of the Presence to see God, he took the veil off.
P: When he came out to tell the people God’s commands, his face was shining.
L:  So Moses put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with God.
All: May God’s face shine on us, so that we may know and do God’s will.

Call to Worship    From Luke 9:28-36

          L: Sisters and brothers, we’re almost there!
               A few more steps up this mountain and...
P: Now we see him! It’s Jesus praying.
               But look! He’s changing!
               His face... his robe... they’re dazzling white!
               They’re shining like the sun!
          L: And see! There’s Elijah... and Moses!
               They’re talking to Jesus... talking about his exodus...
                beginning at Jerusalem???
          P: This is amazing! We could stay here forever!
               Maybe we could make a shrine for the three of them.
          L: I don’t think so. The weather’s changing!
               Look at that cloud coming fast! It’s swallowing us!
               Now everything’s dark and scary!
          P: Is that thunder? Are we going to live?
          L: Wow! Did you hear that? I think that was the voice of God!
          P: It seems like we’re safe. Everything’s back to normal.
               Now look: there’s only Jesus...
          L: There’s only Jesus...
               And God said to listen to him...
       All:  Let us worship God in Christ!

Scriptural Benediction

“May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26)

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