God is Speaking! — Transfiguration | RISE UP!
Leccionario en Español, Leccionario Común Revisado: Consulta Sobre Textos Comunes.
Lectionnaire en français, Le Lectionnaire Œcuménique Révisé
Colors today (Transfiguration) are white and gold.
Beginning Ash Wednesday (February 14), the color is purple.
For your Planning Team
The series wrap is always summary and segue. Today’s service order can help you do both.
We’ve been on a journey this Season after Epiphany of “getting ready to get ready.” We’ve been reminding ourselves of some key realities about God and ourselves and some key practices we need to undertake so that we can take the next major step — the Lenten journey of Christians realigning ourselves with the way of Christ and accompanying seekers on the journey to learn how to follow in his way as preparation for baptism at Easter.
Today’s two focus texts, the stories of the transfiguration of Jesus and the death of Elijah, witnessed and accompanied by Elisha, point us both to where we’ve been and where we need to go next. The season after Epiphany is “bookended” by a voice from heaven declaring Jesus God’s beloved Son. But this time, we hear more: the call to listen to him, which means to follow where he leads. Though we do not read the story that immediately follows in Mark (and the other synoptics) this week, we know what comes next. Jesus takes his disciples from the mountain into the valley, where they find themselves woefully unprepared to undertake the mass of suffering that lay before them. Here Jesus is quite clear what they must do to get ready. They need to go on a “rehab” plan focusing on prayer and fasting. And this is just what the Lenten journey, which begins this week, specializes in!
Though we don’t hear the next piece in the Jesus story, we do see something quite similar in the Elijah and Elisha story that follows in today’s service, and provides the primary basis for today’s sermon and sermon notes. Elisha has been Elijah’s disciple. And now Elisha, having been on many glorious journeys with Elijah, must go on a more solemn one: the final journey of Elijah’s life and his passing into death. He does take this journey to its conclusion, and in his mentor’s death, Elisha finds both grief and life.
We who follow Jesus follow where he leads. And he most often leads into places of suffering and death, including his and potentially our own death. We’ve been learning what it is to listen, to move, to answer, and to focus in the midst of life. Now we are called to do this far more profoundly in the face of the constant suffering and death into which we are sent by Jesus as signs and witnesses of his death and life.
And for that, we need the work of Lent. This year’s theme for our Lenten series is “Rehab.” Each week of the series calls us further into a rehab experience that, we trust, will prepare us for facing Christ’s death during Holy Week and our calling as his resurrection people in the face of death for the rest of our lives. The Sending Forth in today’s service functions as the segue into the next series, which kicks off with Ash Wednesday and begins in earnest next Sunday.
In the Series to Come: Rehab
Week 1: February 18 Wilderness
Week 2: February 25 Intervention
Week 3: March 4 Program
Week 4: March 11 Recovery
Week 5: March 18 Promise
Additional Resources for this Service
Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: (Click link to find countries for this week when they are posted)