+ THE TRANSFIGURATION of OUR LORD +
GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
660 Frances Lane Ashland, Oregon 97520
The Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim Pastor
14 February 2021
A warm welcome to all who worship with us this morning. Today we gather around Word and Sacrament through which God equips, directs, and supports his people in the mission and ministry of his Kingdom. All that God has promised in his Son, Jesus Christ, comes together by the power of the Spirit as we worship. Guests and visitors, please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave this morning’s worship. If you have no church home of your own, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Come to worship with us again and often!
AS WE GATHER Here, I am—Your Lord and Friend
We do not see God’s glory as did the people of whom we hear in today’s readings. How awestruck must both Elijah and Elisha have been as the whirlwind and fiery chariot approached (The First Lesson). How frightening it must have been to behold Moses’ veiled, though shining, face, as he descended Sinai in today’s Second Lesson. Paul
says the world is veiled from the glorious light of Christ crucified. Put Moses and Elijah together with transfigured Jesus in the cloud (The Gospel Lesson), and the glory becomes terrifying. Yet Elijah’s ascent and Moses’ face proved their nearness to the Lord, and after that event the disciples saw “Jesus only” – their Master and Friend. That’s when he made the move toward Jerusalem and the awaiting battle. Take a few moments today to ponder how much glory and power our Lord left behind to engage the Enemy on the cross—for you—as Savior and Friend. Does that help you find strength for today’s struggles and battles? What a Friend we have in Jesus!
PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP
O God our Father, whose praise is in The Church, uplift our souls to the holiness of
your presence that with pure hearts we may adore you and worship you with joy-filled lips; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
+ THE ORDER OF CELEBRATING TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY +
PRE-SERVICE MUSIC Come to the mountain
‘Tis Good, Lord, to Be Here
The Sundays after Epiphany began with Jesus’ baptism and end with the
three disciples’ vision of his transfiguration. In Mark’s story of Jesus’ baptism, apparently only Jesus sees the Spirit descending and hears the words from heaven. But now Jesus’ three closet friends hear the same words naming him God’s beloved Son. As believers, Paul writes, we are enabled to see the God-light in Jesus’ face, because the same God who created light in the first place has shone in our hearts to give us that vision. The light of God’s glory in Jesus has enlightened us through baptism and shines in us also for other to see.
PRELUDE My Faith Has Found a Resting Place—Marty Parks
Tatsiana Asheichyk, Piano
ORDER OF CONFESSION
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus Christ is the light of the world; the light no darkness can overcome.
If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship
with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses
us from all sin. Today we see our Lord Jesus Christ in unveiled glory, a foretaste of the glory of our own resurrection,
+ A Brief Silence for Reflection & Self-examination +
Most merciful God, we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. Our eyes are clouded, and our understanding veiled. Our lives are full of shameful things; we stand in need of light. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and let your light shine upon us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.
Jesus Christ, who died for you and rose again, is God’s beloved Son. Rejoice him, your sins are forgiven in the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Forgiven and reconciled by God, let us be reconciled with one another and share the peace of the Lord as we greet each other.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.
GLORY TO GOD Refrain: Glory to God, glory to God,
Glory to God in the Highest
And peace to his people on earthLord God, heavenly King, Almighty God, and Father, we worship
you we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.Refrain
- Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.You are
seated at the right hand of the Father; receive our prayer.Refrain
- For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy
Spirit in the glory of God the Father.
Refrain: Glory to God, glory to God,
Glory to God in the Highest
And peace to his people on earth.
Amen, Amen, Amen
PRAYER OF THE DAY
O God, in the transfiguration of your Son you confirmed the mysteries
of the faith by the witness of Moses and Elijah, and in the voice from the bright cloud declaring Jesus your beloved Son, you foreshadowed our adoption as your children. Make us heirs with Christ of your glory, and bring us to enjoy its fullness, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
FIRST LESSON 2 Kings 2:1-12
[Today’s reading centers on the transfer of power and authority from the prophet Elijah to Elisha. Their travels, which retrace the path of Joshua back to Moab (the place where Moses died) and the parting of the waters, demonstrate that Elisha and Elijah are legitimate heirs of the great prophet Moses.]
Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the LORD will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.”
Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the LORD will take your master from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.” Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live; I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.
When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, Father! The chariots of Israel and its horse-men!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
PSALM of THE DAY Psalm 2 [Please join the Praise Team in singing the Refrain.]
Refrain: Great are the works of the LORD. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Great are the works of the LORD.
Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers
gather against the LORD and against his Anointed One. Refrain
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the LORD scoffs at them.
Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath saying,
“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill. Refrain
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” Refrain
SECOND LESSON 2 Corinthians 4:5-6
[The spotlight of Christian ministry is not on the people who carry out ministry but on the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as God made light shine at creation, God makes the light of Jesus Christ shine in our hearts through Christian ministry,]
Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
SPECIAL MUSIC I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say—Lloyd Larson
HOLY GOSPEL Mark 9:2-9
[Mark’s gospel presents the transfiguration as a preview of what would become apparent to Jesus’ followers after he rose from the dead. Confused disciples are given a vision of God’s glory manifest in the beloved Son]
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by them-selves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, t is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw not one with them anymore, but only Jesus.
And as they were coming down from 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.
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
GRACE CHOIR With A Voice of Joy—P. Williams, P. Drennan
SERMON My Beloved Son — Pr. Jim Text: The Gospel Lesson
2 Kings 2:1-12; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Mark 9:2-9
My Beloved Son
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
It’s been a long-standing tradition to celebrate The Transfiguration of Our Lord at the close of the Season of Epiphany—just a few short days before Lent. The revelation of God through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, is a fitting climax to this season of disclosure—for that is what Epiphany means. Standing at the threshold of Lent, this day provides us with a glimpse of the glory of the Risen Christ.
Envision the Transfiguration as a hint … a foretaste of things to come. That’s essential to understanding this day … for if we isolate this event without any sense of its overall purpose we are left baffled. As a stand-alone incident, it might attract some curiosity—much like the statute of the virgin that weeps or the Shroud of Turin with its lure of an alleged likeness of Jesus’ face. But those lead nowhere because they’re without context.
The things that took place on that high mountain in the text are just that … things. They’re external to an inner purpose that fits as a link in the journey of the Lord that means salvation and sanctification for the world.
“A high mountain—apart” … Mark tells us. Notice he doesn’t identify the mountain and there’s a reason for that. It’s not to become a tourist attraction or shrine. It was simply a place set apart—where the demands and distractions of daily life were absent.
But there in that place, the Transfiguration gives us one of the few glimpses of the deep mystery and infinite love God has for His Son. “Listen to him!” we are told. And in listening we need to let our ears become the means by which our souls can only begin to understand the way it is within the inmost Being of the living God. The very word beloved is our clue.
In life, each of us hold people and things dear to us which we consider priceless. They’re in our heart of hearts because of who they are—a spouse with whom we have shared all the joys and burdens of the years … that one who is closer to us than our very selves—whose kindness, nobility, beauty, character, trust, companionship, and selfless love flow together to form the word beloved … or a parent or child … a brother or sister … a friend … anyone who is cherished and irreplaceable, distinctive and precious. In our experience, don’t we measure our life and its meaning by the people we love? The very thought of them brings peace and joy. And if it is a place somewhere on a mountain or along a stream or lake that comes to mind, then maybe this saying sums it up: “One little corner of earth above all others makes me smile.”
If beloved brings such cherished thoughts and feelings about, how much more with God! And, how infinitely more when we are allowed by faith to see the Father’s love for His Son. That’s what these brief words in Mark are all about … to let us hear God talking about His only-begotten Son. This love isn’t confined within the Being that God is … rather, it spills out over and into the world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son [John 3:16]”. It’s this love that brings all things forth … all things bright and beautiful … all things lasting and good … all things blessed and redeeming.
For when the world is seen apart from faith … a world that cruel, lethal, and pointless … it robs us of joy and hope. It’s then … when we see the world with blinders off … that we must “Listen to Him!” and keep on listening with every fiber of our being attuned to the mystery of the Transfiguration.
That’s the whole purpose behind the Transfiguration … God the Father declaring His Son fit for what was to come on another mountain. He was lifted on a Cross there. On the hill of Calvary, He spread out His arms in obedience to the Father’s will. There in the midst of Golgotha’s darkness, the Light that no darkness can overcome, overcame the darkness of sin and death once and for all. Listen to Him! No other voice … no other name … no other truth can transfigure us by forgiving our sins. You and I are the ones for whom God means His Son to be our confidence … strength … and certain hope that will never fade.
The disciples watched in wonder on that mountain top … terrified by the splendor of Jesus’ face and appearance “dazzling such as no one on earth could bleach them.”
Peter spoke up and proposed building three booths or dwellings to preserve the moment. Who could blame him? But there’s something more behind the thought and good intentions. It’s reluctance—the aversion to risk … to “let go and take hold.” For in ways not yet clear to the disciples, this moment of glory was unsettling and eerie.
Peter sensed something of that in his urge to freeze-frame the moment—to stay put rather than follow. That instinct is not misplaced. It’s something that we know about as well deep down inside … to not want the moment to end for fear of what lies ahead. And one thing I’ve learned over the years is that seeking security and safety in the moment seldom brings it … certainly not spiritual safety anyway.
To follow Christ … to take the risk of faith makes risk an act of faith. It means to faithfully follow where the Lord leads … to risk moving into the unknown … to embrace the unexpected … to leave the glories of the mountaintop experience where it is safe and go down into the plains of uncertainty to serve others and walk humbly with our God. It means to accept life as a journey … to accept that life in Christ will not always go according to plan (especially our plans).
On this Transfiguration Sunday, why not seize life in all its glory and unpredictability and not be afraid of what is to come? So, fellow pilgrims …
May God go with you.
May He walk where you walk;
Guide where you must make choices;
Comfort where you hurt, and surprise you
By His love for you
And what you are
And what you do.
For you also are His beloved.
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life + everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS of THE CHURCH
Called to know, love, and follow you, O God, we pray for The Church, the world, and all who are in need.
A Brief Pause
Lord God, we pray for The Church and its ministries of healing and wholeness; for hospital, hospice, and military chaplains; for those serving in prison ministries; and for all who proclaim freedom and release that the face of Christ may be known and seen throughout the world. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of all creation, we pray that our hearts may be filled with
greater love and care for all your works: plants and animals, water and soil, forests, and farms. Strengthen our resolve to be better stewards of our natural resources and all that exists for ages to come. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of all, we pray for those responsible for leading the nations of the world that they govern wisely with justice and peace, putting aside divisive rhetoric and partisan rancor for the common good of all and give witness to your mercy and justice. Send peace in our time. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of healing, gently watch over those who suffer in mind, body, or spirit; those who are sick and all who hunger for healing. Enfold them in the fullness of your embrace. We commend to your care: Charlie and Marguerite (MaryAnn’s father and mother), Rusty (under hospice care), and Shari. Raise the spirits of those who are home-bound in our parish, especially Sharon, Joyce, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, and Elma that they may be assured of your presence through our prayers and acts of service and love. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of love and tender care, expand our vision in these COVID times to see your kingdom present and working among us. Energize our ministries so that many will
hear the message of hope and forgiveness in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Raise up
willing workers and volunteers from among us to help tend the tasks of service and proclamation during these challenging days of ministry. Continue to guide our Call Committee by the power of your Holy Spirit as it seeks to identify the pastoral candidate you have chosen to serve as your under-shepherd among us. Keep us ever mindful that it is your Spirit who leads and guides us and will in due time make known our new pastor—yet unknown to us, but known and loved by you. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of grace, receive the thanks we offer together with The Sommerlot Family who celebrate the gift of years and the constantly unfolding love and bounty of your ever-open hand on Vernia’s 101st birthday. Continue to smile upon her with your promised love and care. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
God of life and death, we given you thanks for all the saints who have gone before us with the sign of faith and now rest in your arms. Let their lives of service and prayer inspire us in our living, and in the fullness of time, give us our inheritance in Christ. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Merciful God, hear the prayers of your people, spoken or silent, for the sake of the One who dwells among us, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.
God of our salvation, all that we have comes from your hand. We bring what you have already given us—bread and wine for your table, and the gifts of all that we are and have for the work of your Kingdom. Most of all we give you thanks for your greatest gift to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Blessed are you, O holy God: You are the life and light of all.
By your powerful word you created all things.
Through the prophets you call your people to be
a light to the nations.
Blessed are you for Jesus, your Son, he is your light shining
in our darkness and revealing to us your mercy and might.
In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:
Take and eat; this is my + body which is given
for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
And gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my + blood
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness
of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.
Remembering, therefore, his preaching and healing, his dying and rising, and his promise to come again, we await the day when all the universe will rejoice in his life-giving light. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Through him all glory and honor are yours, Almighty Father, with the Holy
Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and forever. Amen.
Now in the words of our Lord, we are bold to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven;
hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses .
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil;
For thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
We thank you, O God, that you have strengthened our hearts through this
feast of life and salvation. Be the light for our path, that we may do justice,
love kindness, and walk humbly with you, now and forever. Amen.
SONG Shine, Jesus, Shine
+ With Great Joy … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +
LENT BEGINS this week, 17 February, with Ash Wednesday Eucharist & Imposition of Ashes at 7:00 pm. Be sure to set the time aside now to join in the evening’s worship and celebration of The Sacrament. Please Note: Walk-up Imposition of Ashes will be available from 12 Noon–12:30 pm.
Vernia Sommerlot will celebrate her 101st birthday this coming Thursday, 18 February. Take the time to join in a Birthday Shower of Cards by sending Vernia a card or note
marking 101 years of God’s blessings and grace in her life.
Mail your card to:
Vernia Sommerlot, 2530 McAndrews Road #347, Medford, OR 97504.
MITE BOX SUNDAY is next week Sunday, 21 February. A large Mite Box will be available on a table at the back of the nave to receive your mite offerings.
Go in peace. Serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God!