February 19, 2023 – Transfiguration Sunday
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, February 19, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EST on Sunday, February 19.
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Prelude – Bells of Guildwood present
Call to Worship
One: The Lord rules over the earth in majesty and mystery.
All: We praise God’s awesome name!
One: The Lord loves justice and calls us together in equity.
All: We come to honour God’s purposes with love and loyalty.
One: The Christ of glory shines in this place.
All: With the Spirit’s power, we will lift our voices in prayer and praise!
Lighting of the Christ Candle
This is the Christ Candle. We light the candle to help us remember that Jesus Christ, the light of the world, is with us in every place and every time.
“My faith looks up to thee” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 677). Words (1830) by American pastor Ray Palmer (1808–1887). Music (1832; tune “Olivet”) by American music director and banker Lowell Mason (1792–1872). Arrangement by Canadian organist and Presbyterian hymnbook editor Carman Hilliard Milligan (1909–1999). Words and music public domain. Arrangement copyright © Carman H. Milligan.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of grace and wonder, you reveal your presence in so many different ways. Your glory glistens on snowy mountain tops and sparkling streams. Your mercy moves in classroom conversations and bedside prayers. Your word of comfort frees us from fear; Your voice can transform our doubts. We come before you in worship to dwell in your goodness and seek your truth, as we offer all praise and honour to you, with Christ and the Holy Spirit, One God, mighty and merciful, now and always. Amen.
God of mystery and mercy, we confess we sometimes mistake our own desires for your will. We are reluctant to hear a word that challenges our assumptions. We seek assurances that we are right, and resist insights from the experience of others. Forgive us, O God. Shape our will to yours, so we can dwell more closely with you and with one another.
We pray in Jesus’ name, and continue to pray as he taught:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.
Declaration of Pardon
While it is true that we have all sinned, it is a greater truth that we are forgiven through God’s love in Jesus Christ. God offers us mercy and newness of life this day, so be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another. Thanks be to God!
One: The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
All: And also with you.
Guildwood Senior Choir Presents
“Morning has broken”. Words (1931) by English author Eleanor Farjeon (1881–1965). Music is a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune, “Bunessan”. This arrangement (1971) by British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens (1948–). Words and music in the public domain. Arrangement copyright © 1972 Freshwater Music.
Fun with the young at heart (children’s story)
A Welcome Moment
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
Bells of Guildwood present
Matthew 17: 1–9 <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible
17 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became bright as light. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will set up three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8 And when they raised their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
The scripture reading is followed by:
One: The Word of God.
People: Thanks be to God.
“Open my eyes, that I may see” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 500). Words and music (tune: “Open my eyes”) completed in 1895 by American composer and hymn-writer Clara H. Scott (1841–1897); both in the public domain.
What should we do with the story of the transfiguration of Jesus we read today? Is it our job to make a good sermon out of the story? Or is it our job to analyze what Peter, James, and John saw that day on Mount Tabor as if we are given a math test to solve?
Perhaps it is our task as Christians who read this story, to close our eyes and allow the story to teach us to wonder what God is doing in our lives today.
I believe that through the transfiguration story, God invites us to rediscover and deepen a sense of wonder and reverence so that we can deepen our relationship with the living Christ here and now.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote number of books on the gift of wonder, in one of his books, he said, “As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines. Such decline is an alarming symptom of our state of mind. Mankind will not perish for want of information; but only for want of appreciation. The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living. What we lack is not a will to believe but a will to wonder.
Awareness of the divine begins with wonder. It is the result of what man does with his higher incomprehension. The greatest hindrance to such awareness is our adjustment to conventional notions, to mental cliches. Wonder or radical amazement, the state of maladjustment to words and notions, is therefore a prerequisite for an authentic awareness of that which is.
I believe this is the commandment we need to practice every day, and we have to place in the core of who we are and what we believe.
Matthew 6: 26–29:
26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
Jesus invites us to discover the presence of God by looking at the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Jesus invites us to look at each creation and every person we meet with the gift of wonder and reverence and discover the presence of Jesus Christ wherever we are today.
There are many moments in our life that remind us that God is very much alive in our life today. That could be over a mundane meal we shared with our loved ones, that could be a special trip we took with our loved ones, that could be a loving conversation we had our loved ones especially when we were struggling, that could be the time when our child was born or when our loved ones died….that could be the time when we were walking on a beautiful trail, or that could be the time when you first went to the church after being away for few years… Or it could be the most difficult moments of our life. It does not have to be on top of our life, but it could be at the bottom of our life.
Whatever those moments where we saw the living Christ in our life, we need to hold onto such special memories in our hearts that help us to go on, we need to protect such memories and remember we are loved… when we do that they will protect us and help us to go on…
May we hold onto the love of Jesus Christ in our human history, human mind and human hearts and may we allow the risen Christ to guide our decisions today whatever we have to decide, whatever we have to say, whoever we have to meet today….may we allow Jesus Christ to be our Lord…
We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of being present at Sunday worship, you may sign up for pre-authorized remittance (PAR), donate online, or drop off your offering envelope in the mailbox at the church. Do not leave a cash donation unattended in the mailbox; instead, please call the office (416.261.4037) to ensure someone will be there to receive it. The building will be checked daily for mail and phone messages. If you are not comfortable leaving an envelope, you are welcome to contact the office (once again, 416.261.4037) and someone will pick up your offering.
Dedication of our Gifts
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 306) Based on the tune “Old 100th” with words (1989) by English hymnwriter Brian A. Wren (1936–). Words copyright © 1989 Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music public domain.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise God all creatures high and low;
praise God in Jesus fully known,
Creator Word and Spirit One.
Prayer of dedication
God of love that transforms lives, we offer our gifts in gratitude for all we have received in Christ, your beloved Son. Take our gifts and transform them into acts of love that will bless the world in his name. Amen.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of life, God of love, You created us and set us in relationship with each other In families and neighbourhoods, in communities and countries, In cultures and nations. Thank you for the inheritance offered by previous generations which helped establish our families and our common life. We are grateful for the meaning and encouragement we can draw from our heritage. Help us stand open to the wisdom in other cultures and insight from a new generation so we can all contribute something to the well-being of wherever we home.
God of our faith and our future, there are many pressures on families today. Draw near to those struggling in economic difficulty, and those burdened by challenges to their health and happiness. Work with families where members are in conflict with each other to create solutions that express mutual respect. Make us a congregation that supports families, whatever their size or situation, as well as people living on their own. Help us find joy and support together as part of the family of your people.
God of mercy and forgiveness, You call us to live together in peace and unity. Where people are divided and bitterness turns into resentment, show us how to work for reconciliation. Where violence and fear turn neighbour against neighbour, or nation against nation, call out leaders to work for justice that will bring peace. Help us build a world where children can grow up to enjoy their future in good health and happiness.
God who is our hope and our help, Thank you for the inheritance we share as church members, for the gifts of so many generations handed along to teach us your wisdom and inspire us with a vision of the new things you make possible. Teach us how to learn from tradition but also to recognize the work of the Spirit to keep reforming us in the faith. Build up the family of this church. Help each one find a place and a purpose in our mission and ministry , using use their talents and sharing their vision for our future with you. Amen.
“Teach me, God, to wonder” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 704). Words (1973) by Canadian minister and hymnwriter Walter Henry Farquharson (1936–). Music (1974; tune: “Teach me, God, to wonder”) by Canadian composer Ron Klusmeier (1946–). Words copyright © 1973 WorshipArts. Music copyright © 1974 Ron Klusmeier; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Changing the Light
Now, it is time to change the light. The light that was in one place can now be in every place and every time going with you wherever you go.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (the risen Christ), the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you always. AMEN.
“The Lord bless you and keep you”. Words from the Aaronic Blessing. Music by English composer John Rutter (1945–). Words public domain. Music copyright © 1981, 2015 Oxford University Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Copyright © 2023 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church
Last updated 2023-02-20 12:40 – Added Sermon text; added Guildwood Senior Choir presents, Musical Reflection, Postlude info; updated Choral Amen info.