After Epiphany: The Great Invitation Worship Series Overview

Transfiguration of the Lord, Year A

Today we exult in the vision of God’s exaltation of Jesus and in anticipation of our own transfiguration now and in the age to come. That hope, that vision, drives us not to stay where we are on the mountaintop, but to get into the valley of sin and suffering and be a healing and formative presence for all who seek God’s salvation with us in the weeks of Lent that lie ahead.

Reading Notes

NRSV texts, artwork and Revised Common Lectionary Prayers for this service are available at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library
Leccionario en Español, Leccionario Común Revisado: Consulta Sobre Textos Comunes.
Lectionnaire en français, Le Lectionnaire Œcuménique Révisé

Exodus 24:12-18
The mystery and awe of God's holy presence: God calls Moses up on the mountain, and Moses enters the cloud of God's glory.

Psalm 99 (UMH 819)
Tone 1 in D major (See p. 737.)

2 Peter 1:16-21
Peter says, "We had been eyewitnesses of his majesty ... we were with him on the holy mountain ... So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed."

Matthew 17:1-9
Matthew's account of the Transfiguration.

Calendar Notes

The Great Invitation: “Shine!"

Today we reach the end of the series and this season of evangelism and invitation to consider the way of discipleship to Jesus. Celebrate boldly today! This Wednesday (Ash Wednesday, March 1) marks the formal beginning of Lent, and the season of intensive formation in the way of Jesus. Our Lenten worship series, Living Our Baptismal Calling, will help you do this work well together, grounded in the Scriptures and the vows of our baptismal covenant.

In the Series

And so we come to series’ and season’s end. You’ve spent these eight weeks preparing for and engaging in the Great Invitation Jesus himself offers to life in the kingdom of God. You’ve invited others to join you and consider with you what such a life might look like for them and perhaps whether it’s something they want to consider for themselves and with you. You’ve done this work of inviting not only in worship, but in your daily lives with folks you’ve known and folks you’ve only recently met.

Series end always needs to deliver on two things: First, it must bring the series promise to fruition. The promise of this series has been to invite and introduce people to the way of Jesus. It has not been to “compel them to come in,” but rather a more open invitation to “Come and see.” See, and then, after seeing, after dwelling with us for a time as we consider the core ministry and teachings of Jesus together, decide, perhaps, whether or how they may continue among us.

Second, it must segue well into the next series. We provide two elements in this service to help you do just that. First, the response to the word today is a Call to Continue the Journey. This is a call not only to newcomers you’ve invited, but to all among you who have come to value perhaps more deeply through this series what life in God’s kingdom could mean for them if they were to pursue it seriously. The specific invitation is an invitation to undertake with you the Lenten journey, a journey that digs deep into the vows of the baptismal covenant. It’s a journey that moves from “Are you interested?” in this season to “Are you ready, or willing to get ready, not simply to live with Christ, following his way, but, indeed, to die and rise with him?”

Not everyone among your newcomers or among your long-time attendees will say yes to this invitation, which is the ultimate invitation of this season. Some of those who say yes will be more committed to what comes next than others. Our work today is not to judge how people respond to the invitation to the journey, but simply to encourage them to do so, and then to continue to focus our chief attention as church leaders to support and encourage those who say yes.

The second form of segue into Lent we offer is at the Sending. We all know not everyone will attend an Ash Wednesday service (we provide full ritual for this in the next series). So we anticipate Ash Wednesday today with an altered form of the traditional invitation to Lent as our Sending Forth and the singing of a Lenten song/hymn. After the Eucharist, we encourage the changing of the paraments or other color elements during this singing of this song to make that transition as well. That’s why we provide two kinds of graphic elements for today’s service (gold and purple-- gold for beginning and throughout the service, purple for the sending forth). It’s also why the bulletin cover for this week transitions from gold to purple.

So rejoice fully in the hope of the radiant transfiguration life in God’s kingdom promises us today.

And then take the turn, with as many as are willing to take it as seriously as they are willing to take it, to the process of preparing our lives to allow them to be as aligned with and transformed by the work of God’s kingdom as they can be.

Aditional Resources

2014 Planning Helps for the Transfiguration of the Lord

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Portugal, Spain, Italy, Malta

In This Series...

The Heavens are Opened — Planning Notes Come and See — Planning Notes Follow Me — Planning Notes #Blessed— Planning Notes Salt and Light and Righteousness Abounding — Planning Notes This, Not That — Planning Notes And Now Your Reward — Planning Notes


  • Green

In This Series...

The Heavens are Opened — Planning Notes Come and See — Planning Notes Follow Me — Planning Notes #Blessed— Planning Notes Salt and Light and Righteousness Abounding — Planning Notes This, Not That — Planning Notes And Now Your Reward — Planning Notes