February 11, 2024 – Transfiguration Sunday
A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, February 11, 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 11.
Previous livestreams and other worship and musical content is available on our YouTube channel. You can also check out our entire worship services archive. Our SoundCloud channel has yet more music and worship content.
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.
Call to Worship
One: God said, “Let light shine in the darkness!”
All: Lord, shine your light into our lives.
One: We see God’s glory in the face of Christ.
All: The light of Christ is with us day by day.
One: Let us follow the light of Christ together.
All: Let us worship God with thanks and praise.
“Praise, I will Praise” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 420). Original French words (1976) by French composer and musician Claude Fraysse (1941–2012); English translation (1989) by American hymnwriter Kenneth I. Morse (1913–1999). Music (1977; tune “Je louerai l’Éternel”) by Fraysse; arrangement by Alain Bergèse. Original French words copyright © 1976 Claude Fraysse; English translation copyright ©1989 The Hymnal Project; used by permission of Brethren Press. Music copyright copyright © 1977 Claude Fraysse.
Prayers of Approach and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer (sins)
God of grace and glory,
you reveal your presence to this worried world in radiant glory and gentle whispers, on mountain tops and in shadowed valleys, in classrooms and hospital beds, in homes and churches, in the quiet of nature and on busy streets. Yours is the presence that pushes past our fear to calm us; yours is the love that transforms our doubt with reassurance. We have come to dwell in your goodness this day and to offer the praise you deserve, grateful for all the ways we meet you, Source, Saviour and Spirit of Life.
God of patience and purpose,
we confess we don’t expect you to surprise us. We think we know what you expect of us and so we’re reluctant to consider a new challenge or a new opportunity to serve you. Forgive us when we are set in our ways. Work in us by your Spirit to keep us open to new encounters with you in the world as it changes so you will always find us faithful. Amen.
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
St John records that God is love and that God’s perfect love casts out fear. Friends, we are promised that those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them. Claim God’s forgiveness in this Good News: God’s perfect love abides in you through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thanks be to God!
One: The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
All: And also with you.
The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)
Guildwood Senior Choir Presents
“Walking in Sunlight”. Anthem incorporates the hymn “Heavenly Sunlight” with words (1899) by American minister and hymnwriter Henry Jeffreys Zelley (1859–1942) and music (1899; tune: “Sunlight”) by American preacher and composer George Harrison Cook (1864–1948). Cook wrote the tune first and then asked Zelly to write the words. This arrangement (2011) by American composer Mary McDonald (1956–). Words and music public domain. This arrangement copyright © 2011 Lorenz Publishing; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
Mission Moment – Black History Month-Awareness
(the Mission and Outreach Committee by Roslyn Thompson)
Fun with the Young at Heart (children’s story)
We sing verse 1 of “Jesus loves me this I know”.
“Jesus loves me, this I know” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 373). Words (1859 or 1860) by American writer Anna Bartlett Warner (1827–1915). Revisions to v2 and v3 by Canadian Anglican priest David Rutherford McGuire (1929–1971). Music (1862; tune: “Jesus loves me”) by American musician William Batchelder Bradbury (1816–1868). Words, revisions and music in the public domain.
Mark 9:2–9 <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible
2 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, 3 and his clothes became dazzling bright, such as no one on earth could brighten them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us set up three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
The Coming of Elijah
9 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.
Verse 2, ‘Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves.’
‘Six days later,’ the Gospel of Mark invites us to revisit the events of six days prior. Six days symbolize more than just a specific period, they symbolize a period of incompleteness. We will discuss that more later. Whatever those six days symbolize in the Bible the gospel of Mark invites us to pay attention to an event or events in the previous chapter that led Jesus and his disciples to a high mountain in the chapter we are reading today.
May we pause and look at an event has led Jesus, Peter, James, and John to a high mountain.
Mark 8:31–33 (27–31)
27 Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi, and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ 28 And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ 29 He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ 30 And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. 31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes and be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’
What happened in the previous chapter was that Jesus shifted the direction and focus of his ministry. In fact, according to many biblical scholars, the Gospel of Mark is divided into two sections: chapters 1:1 to 8:26, covering the ministry of Jesus in Galilee, and chapters 8:27 to 16:8, detailing the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem. Up to that point, everything had been going smoothly, and everyone was content. Jesus had performed amazing works, such as restoring sight to the blind, casting out unclean spirits, healing the sick in Galilee, and feeding 5000 people with two fish and five loaves of bread. His teachings were beloved, and his popularity soared in Galilee, drawing crowds eager to see him.
Many, including the 12 disciples, viewed Jesus as the type of Messiah who would fulfill their desires for a better world—free from foreign oppression and corruption within political and religious systems. They believed Jesus would achieve total victory by defeating their enemies. They saw Jesus as the second Elijah, Moses, and David—a charismatic leader, a political reformer, and a hero of war.
However, Jesus did not see himself as a political warrior or a war hero. He believed he came to suffer with those who are suffering, to die with them, and to rise again.
When Jesus revealed his identity and his intentions, there was a profound silence – the silence of chaos, confusion, and rejection. The exception, of course, was Peter.
Mark 8: 32-33, “And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.’ But turning to his disciples, Jesus rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’”
Peter rebuked Jesus. ‘To rebuke’ is a strong word. He said to Jesus, ‘Jesus, don’t you care? I gave up my job, my career, and my family to follow you. You cannot do this to us. It is not fair, and you are being selfish.
The heated exchange between Jesus and Peter, the sharp disagreement between Jesus and his disciples, was the event that happened six days ago, leading them to a high mountain where they witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. The Gospel of Mark is challenging us by telling us that sometimes it is our disagreement with God, and other times it is our disappointment with our loved ones that can lead us to a high mountain where our understanding and awareness of God are transformed and elevated.
Please, join in our Sunday morning worship in person or livestream to hear the full version of the sermon.
“We are one in the Spirit” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 471). Words and music (tune: St. Brendan’s / We are one in the spirit) completed in 1966 by American priest Peter Scholtes (1938–2009). Words and music © copyright 1966 F.E.L Publications, assigned to The Lorenz Corp, 1991; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
May we present our gifts to God in response to what we have received from God?
“Deep River” performed by Jericho Sagabaen. African-American spiritual, first mentioned in print in 1867. This arrangement (2019) by American composer and arranger Mark Hayes (1953–). Music public domain. Arrangement copyright © 2019 Heritage Music Press, a division of the Lorenz Corporation; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
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
Our offering will now be received.
“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 life and love, receive our gifts as tokens of our love. Bless them so they strengthen the love we offer neighbour and stranger alike in Jesus’ name. May our lives shine with hope in these winter days, as we wait for life to stir in the earth and new life to stir within us through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Prayer of Thanksgiving and Hope
God of all life and each life:
You created us to live in relationship with each other — with friends and families, in communities and cultures, in neighborhoods and nations. We give you thanks for all the supportive relationships which bring meaning and encouragement to our lives, and help in times of trouble. Help us contribute what we can to sustain the wellbeing of our community for all who call it home.
God of our faith and our future,
there are so many pressures on homes and families today. Draw near to those who are in economic difficulty, and those burdened by the challenges to health and happiness this winter. Work with parents and children, married partners, and next door neighbours who face conflict their relationships; offer them solutions that express mutual respect and resolve tension. Help our congregation support families, whatever their size or situation, as well as people living on their own, to know your love.
God of mercy and forgiveness,
You call us to live together in peace and unity. We pray for our neighbourhoods and our nation. Where people are divided and bitterness turns into resentment, show us how to work for reconciliation. Wherever there is conflict and daily danger in the world, raise up peacemakers and negotiators to bring violence to an end. And give courage and protection to all who fear what tomorrow could bring.
Today we give thanks for our church family and the years of worship and witness offered here. Bless our leaders and our volunteers and renew their creativity and commitment to enliven our congregation in its mission.
We remember those of our number in need of your special attention today… . Open our eyes to opportunities to reach out beyond our own fellowship as agents of your healing and hope for we offer ourselves to you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
“O for a world where everyone respects each other’s ways”. (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 730). Words (1987) by American Roman Catholic Medical Mission Sister and hymnwriter Miriam Therese Winter (1938–). Music (1839; tune “Azmon”) adapted by American composer Lowell Mason (1792–1872) from an 1828 work by German composer Carl G. Gläser the Younger (1784–1829). Words copyright © 1990 Medical Mission Sisters; music in the public domain.
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.
“Go Now in Peace”. Words by American educator, lyricist and composer Don Besig (1936–) and American lyricist Nancy Price (1958–). Music by Don Besig. Words and music copyright © 1988 Harold Flammer Music, a division of Shawnee Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.
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