Material for Worship for last Sunday in Epiphany, 27th February 2022

This Sunday, writes Rev Peter Potter, is a kind of hinge in the Church’s year, when we turn from the season of the Epiphany towards Lent. We always hear the

account of the Transfiguration from one or the other Gospels. 

In Luke 9:28-43 we are told that Jesus’ clothes became dazzling white and his face shone. This is not an altogether uncommon event for us ordinary mortals either, in moments of great excitement, joy or spiritual devotion. Think of the expressions on the faces of the women’s curling team in Beijing, for example, and brides, in a journalist’s cliché, are often described as “looking radiant”.

Jesus’ radiance denotes a profound spiritual experience and, to his disciples and us, it reveals who he is and what he is about. Not long before he had asked disciples “Who do you say I am?” And Peter answers “You are God’s Messiah”. What happened on the mountain confirms Peter’s words and they hear a voice from the cloud saying “This is my Son. Listen to him”, an echo of the words spoken at his baptism at the River Jordan. But now he stands with Moses, who received the tablets of the law, and Elijah who ascended to heaven in glory. Jesus speaks to them of his glory but also of his “departure” (the Greek word here is “exodus”). From here on Jesus is leading his disciples out and onwards to Jerusalem, to a new departure.

After Peter’s earlier realisation Jesus had told them what it entailed: that the Messiah would suffer and be killed but then would rise in glory. A glory which the disciples saw prefigured on the mountain.

It was a moment of intense spiritual emotion. Poor old Peter does not know what to make of it. He wanted too build three huts for Jesus, Moses and Elijah, wishing to capture this moment and hang on to it. But, as the Gospel of John tells us, Jesus is the one who dwelt (in Greek “pitched his tent”) among us, not on some lofty pedestal.

We see straight away what that means. From the mountain they come down with a bump. Down in the town everything is in a mess and they are back in the nitty-gritty of everyday life. “How much longer must I be with you?” Asks Jesus, perhaps in exasperation but more likely to remind his disciples that he is on his way to Calvary, his departure (see verse 9:44). After that he will be handing on his work – to his disciples then and us now, just as Elijah handed on his cloak to Elisha as he departed into heaven and as Moses left his people as they were about to cross into the Promised Land.

And so, they and we are called to discover the greatness and glory of God not just in the intense moments of spiritual joy but also in the everyday, the let-downs and struggles, in events we hadn’t bargained for. Because “the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory”.



Let us pray; that all may see God’s glory and hear his voice.

We pray for the peace of the world, especially today in Ukraine. We pray for the leaders of the nations, that they may learn from the wisdom and follies of the past and see where their present duty lies.

We pray for those killed, injured or made homeless by war or civil strife, by oppression or the denial of human rights, and we pray for people and organisations who are working to bring relief in these places.

As we go about our daily lives, at home or at work, teach us to see the possibilities in the simple things around us. Bless our families, friends and colleagues; and all who bring us closer to you.

Be with all who are ill at home or in hospital. For those who are recovering from treatment or awaiting the results of tests. Give comfort to all whose suffering casts a veil over their lives. We name before you …..

We pray that you will give strength and resilience to all who care for the sick, the frail and those with disabilities.

Bless Ian our Bishop and all who have the joy and care of leading worship. In the heights of praise and the depths of lament may we know your presence with us. Guide your Church that she may faithfully bear witness to the wisdom of the past and be open to the revelation of the future.

We pray for the departed, our own loved ones whom we see no longer and those who have recently died.  Grant them light and peace and the joy of your eternal presence.