Sunday 14th February 2021

An act of worship at home

Reading     Mark 9:2-9

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. 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, it 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 no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

As they were coming down 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 mountain-top experience is indescribable. Mark tries, using some traditional Old Testament metaphors about mountains and clouds, but what he is talking about can’t really be described.

However, through his account it is clear that Peter, James and John had an experience of God’s presence which sent them on their way strengthened and encouraged.

It was a precious moment which Mark portrays as a glimpse into the real world, when, for just a moment the three were allowed to see things as they really are. So, on the mountain the three are given a momentary glimpse of the glory of God. Then the story ends. They can’t stay on the mountain. They must go down.

Mark knows that most of our life is lived on the plain, in the ordinary and the humdrum, and that it is there where discipleship has to be lived out. In his story the disciples are often puzzled by Jesus, and sometimes amazed or afraid of him: but only once here does he speak of them having a heart-warming and faith-confirming experience of the presence of God.

Only once: but once is enough.

After that it was back to following Jesus, following him on the way up to Jerusalem with an uncertain future before them. But there had been a change. Their “Yes” had been gloriously revealed by God’s great “Yes” and they too had been transfigured.

God reveals himself, or God reveals herself, to us in many ways. And God comes to each one of us, in ways that relates to our own unique personalities. This is happening all the time; but we often feel that there are special moments when we feel Him closer to us.

As Wesley Carr puts it in a Lent Book from a few years ago: When two people meet, they interact. One does not give and the other receive. They each contribute something to one another. And both are changed. Interaction exactly describes the partnership that must exist between God and us, if we are to know him at all. The cross challenges the arrogance that claims that we create God. It also questions any sense of divine aloofness which assigns us no part in God’s existence.

Our relationship with God comes in part from us just as relationships between people do. God wants to know us as we are, he wants, as they say, to meet us where we’re at.

However we meet God, in the bright light or in the dark cloud we too can have a transfiguration experience. We too can meet with God in the still centre of our own hearts. And in that meeting we are changed.

Transfiguration is what God does with and for, and to us, when we come into personal contact with him, saying “Yes” to God’s “Yes” to us. Thanks be to God. Amen.


As someone once put it, “God accepts us as we are but loves us too much to leave us that way.”

Gracious God, we praise you that day by day you are at work in our lives, transforming them beyond all our expectations. We praise you for the way that despite ourselves you have called us to faith, breaking through our doubts, our stubbornness, our selfishness, and pride, drawing us to Christ. Gracious God, shine your light upon us, we pray.

Help us to keep firm hold of the conviction that you can continue to change us — that whoever we are, whatever we do, whatever we face, nothing is outside the scope of your renewing power.

Gracious God, shine your light upon us, we pray.

Help us to remember you can change others — that however hopeless a case may seem, however much a person may be opposed to you, however far from you they may appear, you are able to light up their life with your love for them. Gracious God, shine your light upon us, we pray.

Save us from so forgetting all you can do that we become disheartened, expecting nothing, attempting nothing, achieving nothing. Gracious God, shine your light upon us, we pray.

Lord, through our words and our actions may we speak of how you shine your light upon us, so that by your grace your light shines upon others.

In the name of Christ. Amen.


O splendour of God’s glory bright

who bringest forth the light from Light;

O Light, of light the fountain-spring;

O Day, our days illumining;

come, very Sun of truth and love,

come in thy radiance from above,

and shed the Holy Spirit’s ray

on all we think or do today.

O joyful be the livelong day,

our thoughts as pure as morning ray,

our faith like noonday’s glowing height,

our souls undimmed by shades of night.

All praise to God the Father be,

all praise, eternal Son, to thee

whom with the Spirit we adore

for ever and for evermore.


Lord, may your face shine upon us like the bright sun …

warmth to give, light to guide, life to live – lives transfigured, lives transformed.

May God bless us and keep us, and give us peace. Amen.

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