Sunday (Zoom from the sanctuary) message: The Glory of God’s Presence

Dear Lord, we are so grateful for keeping safe and strong during challenging days like this. Thank you for friends and family and above all a Christian community where we are able to fellowship with one another in love. We are grateful that in your love and mercy we are able to offer our time and service for your glory in this worship service. May we continue to experience your great love and blessings even as we present our offerings to you this day; and may our lives shine with hope in these difficult days of the wintertime, as we wait for healing and renewal through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Worship on the Lord’s Day

 

We gather to worship God

 

Music prelude

Greeting:

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with you,
P: and also with you.

Lighting of the Christ candle:

Welcome and announcements

Silent preparation for worship

Opening words:
L: From you, Lord, and through You,
and to You, are all things
P: To Christ be the glory forever
L:  Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: Open the eyes of my heart

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You, I want to see You

To see You high and lifted up
Shining in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy, holy, holy

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
You are holy, holy, holy
I want to see you

Songwriter: Paul Baloche © Universal Music Publishing Group. Reprinted with permission and permission to stream under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved.

Call to worship:

L: God said, “Let light shine in the darkness!”
P: Lord, shine your light into our lives.
L: We see the glory of God
in the face of Christ.
P: The light of Christ is with us
     day by day.
L: Let us follow the light of Christ together.
P: Let us worship God
with thanks and praise.

Prayers of approach and confession:

God of grace and glory, you reveal your presence to this worried world in the radiance of your glory and in gentle whispers. On mountain tops and in shadowed valleys we feel your presence. In our very busy schedules, we feel your presence. From the silence of our hearts and from our homes, we seek your presence. Through our worship from the churches online and in-person, we feel your presence. Out there in the quiet of nature and on busy streets, your presence is noticed. Thank you for your great presence in our lives that pushes past our fear to calm us in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us. We give you glory for your love that transforms our doubt with reassurance. We come to dwell in your goodness and offer you the praise you deserve.

(from the silence of our hearts, may we raise to God our personal prayers of confession)

God of mercy and forgiveness, we confess that many things keep us from trusting fully in your love. We are often distracted by our own desires and disappointments. We cling to anger and resentment. We fear for the future rather than seek signs of hope. Forgive us Lord and shine the light of your presence is upon us, so that your glory may be seen through us in our words, thoughts, and deeds. Give us the courage to follow Jesus wherever he leads. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Response: I will trust in the Lord

Assurance of God’s forgiveness:

Beloved in the Lord; we are God’s and he is well pleased with us. He renews and restores; He forgives and shows love to his own. We are a new creation in Christ; and behold, everything old has passed away and everything is becoming new. This is the good news for God’s own people. Amen.

Response: Be still and know

Prayers for God’s help and guidance:

Dear God, at the mountain of transfiguration, you did not hide yourself or your glory from the disciples. We thank you that in faith, we are gathered here this morning to worship and exalt your most holy name as we remember this great event in the life of your Son Jesus Christ. In the midst of your glorious presence, the disciples could hear you speak. We beseech thee gracious God that as we lift our hearts in prayers this morning, may your glory be revealed in our lives. Continue to open our minds and our spirits to know and understand you more and more in our daily encounters.

Dear God, we live at a time when we have to cope with so many pressures in our homes and community at large. Draw near to those who are struggling in economic difficulty and those burdened by the challenges to health and happiness this winter.

Continue to help our congregation as we spread your love through the care and support of one another and mission activities to reach out to the needs of those within our reach.

As the pandemic stretches on, we pray for all those whose skill and dedication is needed to support our common life.

Guide us all with your wisdom and insight so that we may find ways to reach out to each other in support and friendship at this time. Open our eyes to opportunities to reach out beyond our own fellowship as agents of your healing and hope. This and many more, we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

We listen for the voice of God

 
Children’s time

Song: We have come at Christ’s own bidding

We have come at Christ’s own bidding to this high and holy place, where we wait with hope and longing for some token of God’s grace. Here we pray for new assurance that our faith is not in vain, searching like those first disciples for a sign both cleared and plain.

Light breaks in upon our darkness; splendor bathes the flesh joined word: Moses and Elijah marvel as the heavenly voice is heard. Eyes and hearts behold with wonder how the law and prophets meet: Christ with garments drenched in brightness, stands transfigured and complete.

Strengthened by this glimpse of glory, fearful lest our faith decline, we like Peter, find it tempting to remain and build a shrine, but true worship gives us courage to proclaim what we profess, that our daily lives may prove us people of the God we bless.

Words: Carl P. Daw Jr., © 1988 Hope Publishing Co
Music: David Ashley White © Selah Publishing Co. Inc 1991
Reprinted with permission and permission to stream under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved.

Scripture reading

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 – New Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Mark 9:2-9 – New Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

The Transfiguration

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, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

The Coming of Elijah

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.

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

Message: “The Glory of God’s Presence”

When we look at the world’s economy, we notice that one of the most thriving sectors till the days of the COVID 19, that generated income exponentially for most economies has been tourism. Some of the reasons that have been advanced for this rapid growth in international tourism in recent years includes pleasure, relaxation, rest, recreation, curiosity, and health. So unfortunate that for a year now, most people have been deprived from the pleasure of tourism because of COVID 19, but hopefully in the days ahead, things will get better, God being our helper. Usually, there is always so much packaged in a new and beautiful experience that we hardly desire to let go of it.

Most people will tell us they never loved it when they had to return from a beautiful trip or beautiful experience they were having somewhere. Yes, when something is good, we always wish that experience never ends. I remember last two weeks my daughter cried so much at the end of having her first bus ride because it was such a beautiful experience for her as she wished the trip never ended. In fact, she said, Mummy, let’s sleep in the bus since it was already getting dark.

Unlike most of us who cherish pleasure trips for recreation and rest from work, we are told in the gospels that Jesus often retreated from the crowds at times with some of the disciples, to the mountain tops for prayers and spiritual rejuvenation. This time, we are told he came to the mountain with three of his disciples; Simon Peter, James and John; not for the luxury of enjoying nature, but to be in the presence of God in prayers. It turns out to be a beautiful experience for these three men who witness Jesus being transfigured before their own very eyes as he undergoes some physical changes.

It was a glorious experience of awe and fear as they witnessed the glory of God’s presence in the form of a dazzling light as it came over Jesus. Then they saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus; then the cloud, signifying God’s presence and the voice of the Almighty;  confirming the divinity of Christ as God tells the disciples that Christ is his Son and they should listen to him.

Like a movie scene, all this was unveiled in the presence of the disciples who were not only in fear but confused as to what to do. Peter felt there was a need to do something and as the one who always spoke up for the rest, started by telling Jesus how good it was to have been there. The next statement by Peter pushes us to ask several questions on why he felt it was good for them to have been there. Peter went on by saying, “let us build three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Wait! Let’s pause for a moment; why did Peter think it was good for them to have been there? A million-dollar question! Was it because of the glorious experience they were having at the mountain of transfiguration or because he felt that Jesus and the others needed a helping hand in getting a tent for themselves? What about a tent for himself and the other disciples James and John?

Dear Christian friends, when there is the presence of God anywhere, often, we do not need to ask, because it cannot be hidden. The excitement of such a glorious presence can certainly get us confused like Peter. Before their very eyes, they beheld the glory of God. I am not so sure these men had seen images of Moses and Elijah who existed thousands of years before them; but I believe that by divine revelation, Peter and his friends were able to identify these great figures of faith who were never buried by human hands upon their departure from this world. Remember Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind while Moses went up the mountain and never returned, and till date no one knows where he was buried.

Peter felt they needed to do something just to render their appreciation for what they were experiencing. Remember that these people came from a tradition where their ancestors used to raise altars for God each time, they had an encounter with God somewhere. Though the gospel writer tells us that Peter did not know what he was saying, I have a feeling that Peter understood that God was present on that mountain; and as such, they probably needed to create a temporal dwelling for him up there.

Maybe that was why he did not consider himself and his fellow disciples when he thought of building tents for these heroes of our faith. Maybe, just like my daughter who will not want an end to her beautiful experience, Peter did not see any need of them coming down the mountain as it was so beautiful up there with the radiance of God’s glory over them. By the way, who would not like to dwell in the presence of God forever? I am sure the disciples felt so blessed and comforted by this glorious experience that they enjoyed the peace that came with the dazzling presence of God as Christ took on the form of His heavenly glory and was transformed/transfigured in their presence.

Yes; dear God’s own people, this is the type of glory we all hope to be transformed into when we eventually leave the earthly bodies through death and are transformed into the heavenly bodies which the apostle Paul describes as non-perishable in 2 Corinthians 5. At this point, I am sure the disciples were so convinced and excited that they never made a mistake in following Christ whose deity had just been confirmed to them by the spoken word of God. As a representation of the law and prophets, Moses and Elijah came to talk with Jesus about his death which will end with his glorification at the resurrection and ascension.

Dear friends in the Lord, few days from now (i.e. Wednesday), we will be in the season of lent, a time when Christians look back and reflect on the passion of Christ. Keeping the Sundays aside, this journey is usually a forty days experience that ends with the glorious celebration of Easter. Celebrating the light of God’s presence at this time was not only an encouragement for Christ who was about to face the challenge of the cross, but also to his followers who may probably be scattered and fall astray when their master eventually embarks on this journey to the cross.

That is why they must listen to him as God instructs. If we read the preceding narrative as presented by Mark, when Peter revealed Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, Jesus went on to talk to the disciples about his death. They were not comfortable hearing such; and then, Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him. I am sure the transfiguration must have been a sigh of relieve and comfort for the disciples, who knowing that in a little while their master will not be with them are hopeful that in the near future, the things he had said will be fulfilled and they will obviously enjoy the future glory that will be gained as Christ embraces the cross.

Dear friends, the mountain experience, was not only a moment of hope and spiritual regeneration for the disciples but it is a reminder for us all that in life we may go through various faces but at the end of the day, the glory of the Lord will always prevail for those that wait upon him. A lot of us may be feeling challenged and hopeless with the prevailing circumstances of our time and even our personal lives. If you feel as such, be hopeful dear Christian friend, because the glory of the Lord will always prevail. May we not give up listening and believing Christ both as individuals and as a community of faith. Let us remain hopeful because God is and will always be with us.

Yes, the glorious presence God is in, and will always be with us each day of our lives as we continue to trust him. He is the king of glory and that is why those that are in him, though they are in the world, they are not of the world because the glory of the Lord prevails over them. I may not be able to tell what turn you are presently taking in your life at this moment; but all I can tell you this morning is this; look up to the Lord; for his glory is your glory and it is eternal. Remain hopeful in the Lord; and may God Almighty continue to lift his countenance upon us to give us peace in a world full of challenges and to him alone be the glory for ever and ever.

Amen.

Song: You Lord are both lamb and shepherd

You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd. You, Lord, are both prince and slave. You, peacemaker and sword bringer Of the way you took and gave. You the everlasting instant; You, whom we both scorn and crave. 

Clothed in light upon the mountain, Stripped of might upon the cross, Shining in eternal glory, Beggared by a soldier’s toss, You, the everlasting instant; You, who are both gift and cost.

You, who walk each day beside us, Sit in power at God’s side. You, who preach a way that’s narrow, Have a love that reaches wide. You, the everlasting instant; You, who are our pilgrim guide. 

Worthy is our earthly Jesus! Worthy is our cosmic Christ! Worthy your defeat and victory. Worthy still your peace and strife. You, the everlasting instant; You, who are our death and life.

Words: Sylvia G. Dunstan © GIA Publications, Inc.
Music and ©: John Van Maanen. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

 

We respond to serve God

 

Prayer of gratitude:

Dear Lord, we are so grateful for keeping safe and strong during challenging days like this. Thank you for friends and family and above all a Christian community where we are able to fellowship with one another in love. We are grateful that in your love and mercy we are able to offer our time and service for your glory in this worship service. May we continue to experience your great love and blessings even as we present our offerings to you this day; and may our lives shine with hope in these difficult days of the wintertime, as we wait for healing and renewal through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Response: Now thank we all, our God

Reflection on giving:

We have been giving faithfully even though there is no offering plate going around the sanctuary. It may be a while before we return to that sanctuary – but what a wonder it is to continue the precious ministry that defines Dayspring. Thank you for your contribution, which comes freely from hearts full of gratitude.

Song: Lord, the light of Your love is shining

Lord, the light of your love is shining in the midst of the darkness, shining Jesus, light of the world, shine upon us. Set us free by the truth you now bring us. Shine on me, shine on me

Refrain:

Shine, Jesus, shine fill this land with the Father’s glory; blaze, Spirit, blaze set our hearts on fire. Flow, river, flow flood the nations with grace and mercy; send forth your word, Lord, and let there be light!

Lord, I come to your awesome presence, from the shadows into your radiance; by your blood I may enter your brightness, search me, try me, consume all my darkness, Shine on me, shine on me.                                                       Refrain

As we gaze on your kingly brightness, so our faces display your likeness, ever changing from glory to glory; mirrored here may our lives tell your story. Shine on me, shine on me      Refrain

Words and Music: Graham Kendrick © 1987 Make Way Music

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE, License #A735555. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Sending out with God’s blessing:

May the strength of God sustain us; may the power of God preserve us; may the hands of God protect us; may the way of God direct us; may the love of God go with us this day and forever. Amen

Response: God to enfold you


Transfiguration Sunday

10:00 am February 14, 2021

led by the Rev. Theresia Ndofor

Elder: Jim Jeatt

children’s time: Vivian Houg

vocalist: Glynnis McCrostie


Copyright 2021 – Rev. Theresia Ndofor, In-Ministry student at Dayspring Presbyterian Church, and student at Montreal School of Theology
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