Last Sunday after Epiphany (Transfiguration of Our Lord): Week of February 27, 2022
Begin your devotion time by praying this prayer: O God, your glory was revealed through Jesus’ transfiguration. Grant that we may seek your glory and worship you in love and truth. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is WORSHIP. Just as the disciples witnessed God’s glory through Jesus’ transfiguration, so do we witness God’s glory in our everyday experiences. One way we respond to this witness is through worship. Where have you experienced God’s glory? How might you use praise and worship to give thanks to God?
Adult and Small Child
Read: Luke 9:28-36
Reflect: I wish that I was on that mountaintop for Jesus’ transfiguration! I can only imagine what the scene looked like: bright light, a shining Jesus, seeing Moses and Elijah appear, and hearing a loud voice come from the sky. In this story, we hear about what it’s like to experience God’s glory! Although we might not ever climb a mountain and experience Jesus’ transfiguration in the same way that the disciples did, we can still experience God’s glory in the world around us. Every night, I make a short list of “God Sightings” for that day. I think about the places where I’ve noticed God during my day, and I give thanks for them. Sometimes they are big, grand moments (like in a sunset or at the top of an actual mountain); other times my God Sightings are as simple as a talk with a friend or playing with my cat. I praise and give thanks to God for all of the places where I witness God’s glory, and I also notice how seeing these things changes me and grows my faith (just like witnessing the transfiguration also changed the disciples who saw it.)
Respond: Try this ritual before going to bed each night this week: first, share with each other where you’ve experienced God’s glory or love (you may need to help young children identify these things, though I also encourage you to let them share what’s on their mind. You might be surprised how much they notice!) If you want, you can write these down in a journal or on a sheet of paper. Then, end with a simple act of worship by “thank you God, we love you” or by singing a favorite church song or hymn.
- Victoria Hoppes
Adult and Elementary
Read: Luke 9:28-36
Reflect: While doing arts and crafts, I use lots of glitter glue. I love glitter! It's so sparkly and festive. In our reading, we see that Jesus' appearance changes and his clothes appear a dazzling white. It is possible that the dazzling white was also sparkly. This change, or transfiguring, is where we get this Sunday, known as Transfiguration Sunday. We listen as Jesus' identity as the son of God is affirmed. Peter, James, and John were witnesses to the transfiguration and I think that they were changed by this experience. Have you had any experiences with Jesus that have changed you?
Respond: You will need a Bible. Find Matthew 3:17 and read it aloud if you are able. If you can not read yet, ask someone to read it to you. Re-read Luke 9:34-36. Does God affirm Jesus' identity in both scriptures? What does it mean to be a child of God? Incorporate this meaning while you are in worship.
- Imani Driskell
Adult and Youth
Read: Luke 9:28-36
Reflect: Following the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus heads up the mountain with Peter, James, and John. This is very similar to the Old Testament story where Moses went up on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. Peter, James, and John were very afraid when they saw Jesus become enveloped in a great white light and Elijah and Moses also standing before them.
Transfiguration Sunday is the last Sunday before the season of Lent begins. Just like the seasons, this mountain top event is not a stand alone story. It is part of the larger story and the beginning of Jesus’s journey to the grave.
Respond: Last fall I had the opportunity to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. I had many of those “mountaintop” experiences as we like to call them. It was also one of the hardest things I have ever done. Just like what happened at the transfiguration of Jesus, mountaintop experiences require a change in us. Something that leaves a lifelong mark. I’m not talking about literal bruises and scars but something that makes us look differently at the world upon our return. As Christians, how can you connect “mountaintop” experiences in your life to the real world? And remember, you don’t have to climb a mountain to have such an experience. It could be a week at camp, a youth retreat or any special trip. A time when you stepped away from the normalcy of the world to have a closer moment with God. Name some mountaintop experiences you’ve had in the last couple of years. How have they brought you closer to God?
- Lauren Wainwright
Adult and Adults
Read: Luke 9:28-36
Reflect: The transfiguration story is very, very hard for
many English-speaking people of color to encounter. Hearing a story where
Jesus’ role as the chosen son of God is revealed, only to find that the
revelation comes in the form of a whitening process is disheartening, to say
the least. But here’s the thing: for the biblical authors, light and dark
language was almost never used to refer to skin color, and the concept of race
didn’t exist. As leaders in the church, we have a responsibility to 1) ensure
our congregations are educated on why value-based concepts of race simply did
not exist for the biblical authors, and 2) to affirm that they DO exist for us.
When we read texts like this one, we must acknowledge that we DO see race in
positive and negative terms and we must ask ourselves why we have let the word
of God be abused in this way, so that we might begin to do better.
Respond: Listen to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “mountaintop” speech. The last he ever delivered, it contains his famous remarks about the transfiguration story. He tells this story to let his followers know he’s been given foreknowledge of his own death. He tells his followers that they must pick up where he is leaving off, because he has gone up the mountain with Jesus and is not coming back down. If you are a POC, especially if you are Black, I invite you to meditate on what it means for you to have both King and Jesus as ancestors. If you are White, I invite you to spend this week contemplating where you first received the message that white = good and dark = evil and how you might help the young people in your lives grow up differently.
- Jessica Davis