Sunday 28 February 2021 Kinlochleven and Nether Lochaber Parish Churches

Opening Words May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.

Hymn   1 O worship the King all-glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendour and girded with praise.


2 O tell of his might and sing of his grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form,
and dark is his path on the wings of the storm.


3 Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.


4 Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail.
Thy mercies, how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!


Prayer Loving God, Lord of all we worship you. You are great and most worthy to be praised. Thank you Lord for loving us and for sending us Jesus. We come as your people, but we are weak and we don’t always get things right. We thank you for your forgiving mercies. Spirit of peace, we wait upon you, we might experience deep within your love. We thank you that Jesus can be our friend and offer our prayer in his name. Amen.

Gospel Luke 9:28-36 27 Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, some standing here will not die until they see the kingdom of God.” 28 About eight days after Jesus had said these things, He took Peter and James and John with Him. They went up on a mountain to pray. 29 As Jesus prayed, He was changed in appearance before them. His clothes became white and shining bright. 30 Two men talked with Jesus. They were Moses and Elijah. 31 They looked like the shining-greatness of heaven as they talked about His departure* in Jerusalem which was soon to happen. 32 But Peter and those with him had gone to sleep. When they woke up, they saw His shining-greatness and the two men who stood with Him. 33 As the two men went from Jesus, Peter said to Him, “Teacher, it is good for us to be here. Let us build three tents to worship in. One will be for You. One will be for Moses. One will be for Elijah.” He did not know what he was saying. 34 While he was talking, a cloud came over them. They were afraid as the cloud came in around them. 35 A voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, the One I have chosen. Listen to Him!” 36 When the voice was gone, Jesus was standing there alone. From that time on, they kept these things to themselves. They told no one what they had seen.                                                                                                    *Luke 9:31 Greek exodus


Message This event in the life of Jesus is known as the transfiguration. The Greek word behind it ‘metamorphoo’ means to be transfigured, changed in form, or to be changed so that the outside matches the inside. When the appearance of Jesus was changed for this short time, it was not that he became someone or something different. Rather his true essence or identity as the Son of God was revealed. Jesus had earlier been teaching about the challenges and trials of faith that lay ahead, and that to follow him meant taking up your cross. But some of those who were with him, or who would stand firm, would live to see God’s kingdom. Indeed some later did see the glory of the Lord when he returned as the risen Lord during the 40 days after his resurrection. But even now in this episode three trusted disciples, Peter, James and John were allowed this glimpse of the majesty of God who had come in Jesus. They saw his glory, Christ the King of glory. This episode was to help them understand that Jesus was God’s Son: the cloud that in Old Testament times brought the presence of the Lord came over them and the majestic voice from heaven confirmed the sign, ‘this is my Son, whom I love, hear him!’ It reveals the Father’s delight in his Son. Even more is disclosed up this mountain. Jesus is conversing with Moses and Elijah, two great figures of the earlier covenant. Moses was the great prophet who led his people by word and sign to freedom, in the exodus, and now Jesus appears as the new Moses ready to do the same. Elijah was the great prophet who was to come and restore all things before the end of time. His return had been represented by John the Baptist. Jesus makes true the prediction of a Prophet to come who would be like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18). Jesus brings freedom through his departure, or exodus, specifically by going to the cross. The three disciples looked round. Elijah and Moses disappeared. Jesus was left alone with the three. They together will take things forward in the new venture of God. Jesus must go part of the way alone as the pioneer of our salvation. Suffering and the cross lie ahead. Peter’s suggestion that he make three tents or tabernacles was mistaken, for the mountain experience was transient. Jesus would come down and return to troubled situations.  The episode reminds us that out of love for us the King of glory came down from heaven, dwelt, tabernacled, laboured among us for a season. For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, and sat down at the right hand of God the Father. He continues to be concerned and involved with us. It shows us something of God’s ways. It is about enduring hardship, taking up your cross, accepting costly discipleship as the path to glory. We must follow Jesus in it. Jesus would later take Peter, James and John to the Garden of Gethsemane, that they might be with him in that difficult hour. We must be willing to follow Jesus on his way to the cross. In the journey we may glimpse something of God’s glory. Soon, though, we return to the world of sorrows. But when we accept the cost of discipleship, a door opens, and something of God’s grace and power are released.     


Prayer Loving God in this season of Lent help us to take our cross and follow Jesus. We thank you that you revealed him the Lord of glory, and yet he loves us and cares for us. We place into your hands our friends and our families. In the words our Saviour has taught us we are bold to pray further, saying, Our Father…

 Closing Words May God’s blessing be upon us, the blessing of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.