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Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 | 0 comments

Exploring God’s Glory with Scouts & Communion

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For Transfiguration Sunday

In 2016, Scout Sunday and Transfiguration Sunday fall on the same day. Each year on Scout Sunday at our church a young scout is tasked with reading the Scriptures for the morning service.

Likely because it comes every year, the transfiguration story feels like smooth vanilla – a good story but nothing out of the ordinary. Except that it is very out of the ordinary!  Here is a fresh paraphrase of the transfiguration and following healing story that could breath new life into this wonderful Scripture and make it more user-friendly for young readers.

The Communion liturgy below highlights some of the different ways the “glory of God” is manifest from creation to the resurrection in the Biblical narrative. Hymns cited are from the United Methodist Hymnal.


The Transfiguration Story – Paraphrased from Luke 9:28-43

One day Jesus took his friends Peter, James and John on a hike up a tall mountain to pray. They climbed higher and higher, right to the top! There Jesus began to pray but all of a sudden he began to change.

 Jesus’ face and clothes became bright and shiny like the sun! Moses the lawgiver and Elijah the prophet appeared and began talking to Jesus about God’s promise to save the world. Peter couldn’t believe his eyes and didn’t know what to say!

Then, a cloud covered the mountain, and Peter, James and John were afraid. A voice spoke from the cloud saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved; listen to him!” And then, just like that, the cloud and Moses and Elijah disappeared. Everything was the same as it was before – even Jesus. Peter, James and John decided to tell no one of this experience until they could understand what it meant.

A crowd was waiting for Jesus the next day at the bottom of the hill. A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, please help my son. He is my only child. He is troubled and has seizures. I begged your friends to help but they could not.”

Jesus asked the man to bring his son. Just then the boy had another seizure. But Jesus prayed for the boy and healed him and gave him back to his father.  And the crowd praised God because of Jesus.

 

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

Invitation to The Lord’s Table

Friends, this is the joyful feast of the Holy Church where we retell the story of God’s work in this world and celebrate God’s glory made visible in the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

No matter who you are, you are welcome to this table. No matter where you come from, you are welcome to this table. Whether you are at peace or troubled, you are welcome to this table. Whether you are filled with faith or riddled with doubts, you are welcome to this table. If you have taken communion for 90 years, welcome back. If this is your first time, we are glad you made it. This is Christ’s table and all are invited.

 

Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

            And with your soul.

Lift up your hearts.

            We life them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks for the Glory of our God.

            It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise, O Lord our God, creator of the universe. In the beginning your glory covered the surface of the waters. Out of your glory the heavens and the earth were created, light swept away darkness and dry land was formed. All living things were called into being and you made humanity in your image, participants, though imperfect, in your glory.

            We praise you and thank you for your glory revealed to us in creation.   

When Abram was ninety-nine years old you appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make you the ancestor of many nations. No longer will your name be Abram but Abraham, the ancestor of many people. I will establish an everlasting covenant with you and your offspring after you, and throughout their generations I will be their God.”

            We praise you and thank you for your glory revealed to us in covenant.

When Moses was keeping a flock in the wilderness, your glory appeared to him like a burning bush. You said, “I have seen the misery of my people in a foreign land and I know their sufferings. I have come down to deliver them from Egypt to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey. I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of oppression.”

            We praise you and thank you for your glory revealed to us in the liberation of your people.

When Elijah went into the wilderness to flee the persecution of Ahab and Jezebel, he was very afraid and he asked to die. But you appeared to him, not as a mighty wind, not as a great earthquake and not as a roaring fire. Out of the silence, you spoke softly to Elijah as a still small voice to comfort your prophet and call him to his work.

            We praise you and thank you for your glory revealed in your care and calling for us.

Your glory was revealed in the life of Jesus. By his works and teachings we celebrate your actions to end violence, restore heath, and uplift the poor and oppressed. Even today, we pray as Jesus taught us saying,

 

The Prayer of our Savior and Choral Amen

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. Amen.

Your glory was apparent in a new way on top of the mountain. There, Peter, James and John witnessed Jesus transfigured before them and saw his true nature revealed. Later, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the people shouted, “Hosanna in the highest heaven,” your glory was palpable. But then, at a small meal in small room, your glory was different. On that night Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and said to his disciples, “Take this and eat it; this is my body given for you.” Then he took a cup, blessed it and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that I will not drink of this cup again until the realm of God comes.” We know that later that night Jesus was betrayed into the hands of those that wished to kill him and on the next day, he was crucified. In the death of Jesus, it appeared that Your glory had been extinguished and the light that his disciples saw on the mountain was only a dream. But through the resurrection we see your glory most fully – a glory that is able to throw off violence and conquer death. In the risen Christ we see the radiance of your glory and the exact representation of your nature manifest for the changing of this world.

            We praise you and thank you for your glory revealed in the ministry of Jesus.

            We praise you and thank you for your glory revealed in the risen Christ.

Come, Holy Spirit Come, Bless this bread, and bless this cup. Bless all of us in our eating and drinking at this table that our eyes may be opened to your glory in creation, in your covenant with us, in your care and calling for us, in the liberation of the oppressed and in the risen Christ present in our lives.

Hymn No. 173                                                 “Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies”

Communion of the People

Prayer after Communion – Holy God, you have accepted us as your own in Christ Jesus and you have nourished us with this spiritual food. Strengthen us in your resurrection power until we see your final glory at last, when all things are changed and made new. Amen.


 

Rev. Jared Hamilton is ordained in the United Church of Christ and serves the United Church of Hinesburg (federated ABC, UCC and UMC) in central Vermont. He hikes, reads, gardens, keeps bees and endeavors to connect the still speaking faith with average, everyday life. Jared is part of the Next Generation Leadership Initiative and the Society of Biblical Literature. He is married and has three vivacious little children.

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