Slideshow image

Trinity United Church
February 14, 2021
Transfiguration Sunday  

“Connection not Perfection”  


Reminder that we will share in communion today, so you will want elements for bread and wine.  

Ash Wednesday service is Wed at 7 pm. You can pick up ash cross tattoos at the church 10 am to noon on Monday and 4 pm to 6 pm on Tuesday.  

Acknowledgement of Territory
The United Churches of Canada
repudiates the doctrine of discovery
that assumed these lands were unoccupied
when European explorers and settlers first came here. 
In humble appreciation,
we acknowledge that Trinity United Church rests
on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples,
the Kwikwetlem First Nations.  


 Call to Worship
Jesus called to Peter, James and John and bid them to follow him up
the mountain to pray.
May Jesus call us too, that we may follow.
Peter, James and John watched as Jesus was transformed and made
May we witness too, that we may be transformed.
The disciples heard a voice from a cloud revealing who Jesus was.
May we hear too, that we may serve.  

Prayer of Approach
God of Radiance and New Life, hearing the call to live in a new way,
we come to worship and know transfiguration.

In this time of worship, touch our hearts with your Holy Mystery
and make us new.

May our grief be comforted, our anxiety calmed, our weariness enlivened.
May we move from doubt to trust, from fear to boldness, and from anger to joy.
In the name of the Radiant One, we pray. 

Hymn  “We Have Come at Christ’s Own Bidding” VU 104
CLICK HERE for video. 

Prayer of Reconciliation and Words of Assurance
God of all glory, beauty, and grace,
we have tried to hide from you –
to hide our faces, to hide our sin –
yet you have never hidden your love for us.
We have tried to search for you –
in temples, in clouds, on mountaintops –
yet you have already revealed yourself to us
in the face of Jesus Christ.
Forgive us, and transform us
so that our lives may shine
with your glory, beauty, and grace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.*  

Our God comes and does not keep silence;
God speaks to us with grace and love,
saying: You are my beloved child.  

This is the good news of the gospel:
in Jesus Christ we are forgiving. 
Thanks be to God!*

*Feasting on the Word liturgies for Year B, vol 1, p86f  


Telling our Ancient Story: “Glory, Glory, Glory”     
CLICK HERE for the video.

Jesus: Glory, glory, glory
Peter: I’m tired!
James: Are we there yet?
John: I’m special
Moses: Holy Moses!
Elijah: crackle their bulletins so they sound like fire burning (because Elijah ascended to heaven on a chariot of fire)
Cloud: Boom, boom, boom  

One day, Jesus chose three of his disciples: Peter, James and John, to go up a mountain with him to pray.  Peter was tired.  James was impatient.  And John thought he was special. 

It had already been a long day and Peter, James and John, were ready for bed.  But Jesus kept on going.  When they got to the top, Jesus started to pray.  While he was praying, Peter noticed that Jesus’ face had changed; he was shining like there was a light in him. 

Suddenly, Jesus wasn’t alone but Moses and Elijah were with him!  There the three of them were, talking like it was just an ordinary day: Elijah, Moses and Jesus!  Before they left, Peter said,
    “we should make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 

Just then, a cloud overshadowed them.  The tree disciples were terrified as they entered the cloud.  Then a voice spoke from the cloud, it said,
    “This is my Son, the Chosen; listen to him!” 
When the voice had spoken, the cloud went away, Moses and Elijah were gone.  Peter, James and John didn’t know what to make of what had happened, only that they should listen to Jesus.  

Hymn  “Come, O Fount of Every Blessing” VU 559
CLICK HERE for video.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6  

3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4In 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. 5For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6For 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.   This is the witness of the early church. Thanks be to God!  

Message: CLICK HERE for video.

Holy and Mighty God,
gather us among your faithful ones,
the people of your covenant,
to stand in the light of your glory
and listen for the word of the Lord.
Speak to us
and let the fire of your spirit
burn brightly in our heats.
Open our minds to receive
the wisdom of the law,
the hope of the prophets,
and the life of the gospel.
In the name of your transfigured one,
we pray.  Amen.  

"In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers…"  a litter further on, Paul contrasts "the god of this world," with "the God who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness', who has shone in our hearts."  

In this context he's talking about two Gods in opposition to each other… a god of this world, blinding people and The God of light.  

This is one of those cases where if we read Paul too literally, we will get lost. We have to read him contextually. Paul, definitely did not believe in two Gods. He asserts again and again that there is only one God.  

Paul is addressing a group he calls the "super apostles", because they seem to think they are better than the actual apostles (namely himself).  

The "Super apostles" argue that Paul's Gospel is convoluted and confusing. The Super apostles assert that it isn't clear if Paul's God "loves" us or not. According to the Super apostles, the God of light does not want us to suffer. Only if we believe the God of light, and do things right (have ecstatic experiences) will we understand that suffering is only an illusion. It is the God of this world/ the god of darkness that makes us suffer. If we are suffering, we are following the wrong God.  

The Super apostles were "Christians" they claimed to follow "Christ;" they were likely Greeks/Gentiles.  

Paul, of course, suffered a great deal. So the Super apostles argues that therefore, Paul was following the God of darkness, not the God of light.  

Paul seeks to say, "No, if there is a god of this world, that God has blinded YOU (the super apostles)."  

For Paul, the God who said, "let there be light" wants us to be uncomfortable with this world, wants us to be uncomfortable with suffering, injustice, pain, hunger, evil… uncomfortable enough that we will do something to change it.  

The former theology (the theology of the super apostles that says suffering is just an illusion), might make people more comfortable for a time… but it does nothing to really change the world.  

Paul's theology, prompts us to action… The God who said, "Let there be light" wants us to be so uncomfortable with the way things are, we'll make changes.   The former theology is active in lots of churches today who will tell us that if you believe, everything will be better: you will get that car you want, your children will be healthy, you will never experience pain or suffering again because… Jesus Saves us from hell and nothing else matters.
   If you are saved from hell, nothing else matters.
    That kind of theology can help people endure a great deal.
    But it doesn't empower people to change.
    That theology also implies that if you are feeling pain and suffering, you aren't doing things right. It's your fault you are suffering.  

Paul's theology is much more difficult. Jesus was persecuted; he suffered; he died for our sins and on the third day he was raised from the tomb to the right hand of God. The same light that was revealed in Christ Jesus, shines in us… and we are called to follow the same path. It is a much more challenging story than that offered by the super apostles.  

The theology of the super apostles comes from a simple theology that good things will happen to good people (the ones who do the right things); and bad things only happen to bad people (the people who do the wrong things).  

You may remember that we call that works righteousness.  

Works righteousness simply doesn't work in the real world. We see bad things happen to good people all the time. And good things happening to bad people. The world is so much more complex.  

The truth is that things are not "right" in the world, and God wants us to be uncomfortable with that… uncomfortable enough to do something about it.  

Transfiguration is not just a story about Jesus and the disciples on the mountain. It is about us. It is about those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus.  

When the transfiguration happens, Peter sees Jesus, Elijah, and Moses there and wants to stay there, "It is good to be here," on the mountain top and build them each a temple.  

But the voice from the clouds has a different idea. "Listen to him." In Hebrew "listen" and "obey" are the same word.  


Over the last several weeks, I've been living with a lot of pain. And there are moments when all I've wanted is for the pain to end.  

But you know what. The only people in the world who don't experience pain, are dead people. Pain is part of living.  

The psychologist Susan David says that "uncomfortable feelings are the entry fee to a more meaningful life."  

This is the gospel of Paul. We are called to follow Christ into the pain, trusting in the resurrection.  

Jesus' transfiguration will not be like those of Elijah and Moses. Elijah ascends to heaven on a chariot of fire. Moses is tucked away in a cleft in the rock and only sees the back of God.  

Jesus' transfiguration is not complete until he suffers, dies and is buried, only then… three days later is he resurrected. This is the Gospel of Paul. The way of Christ is transfiguration, the transfiguration of the cross.  

God calls us into discomfort, so that we can be transformed.  

We are transformed so that we can transform the world.  

This week, our Lenten Journey begins.
May we leave our worship having witnessed God’s Glory, may we return to a world that suffers, and may that world make us so uncomfortable, that we welcome transfiguration, and work for change.  May we enter willingly into a more meaningful life. Amen.


Special Music

Communion Hymn “As We Gather at Your Table” VU 457
CLICK HERE for video. 

The Great Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.  

Mighty God of Moses and Elijah,
you come to us in a whirlwind of mystery,
a swirling emptiest, a devouring fire.  

Yet you come to us –
speaking faithfulness and mercy,
shining light in our darkness,
offering forgiveness for our sin.  

Therefore we praise you,
joining the hymn of the six-winged seraphs,
who cover their faces as they sing:  

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest.  

We give you thanks for Jesus Christ,
the light of the world –
shining at the dawn of creation,
shining in our hearts the day
with a splendor that overshadows
all the beauty of heaven and earth.  

In his face we have seen your glory;
through his words we have heard your truth;
by his living and dying and rising
we have come to know
the height and breadth and depth
of your great love  

I invite you to hold up your bread.  

With thanksgiving, we remember
the bread of life –
taken, blessed, broken, and given
that we might be holy and whole.  

I invite you to hold up your juice or wine.  

With thanksgiving, we remember
the cup of salvation –
your new covenant of grace,
poured out in love for the world.   

I invite you to hold your hands over the elements before you.  

Remembering your faithfulness and mercy
as we share this bread and cup,
we offer ourselves in your service
through Jesu Christ our Lord.  

Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died!
Christ is risen!
Christ will come again!  

Now let us share in your Holy Spirit –
poured out in this place,
for these people, upon this bread and cup.  

By your Spirit, make us one people –
one in the promise of Moses,
one in the prophecy of Elijah,
as we seek to proclaim the gospel
of Jesus Christ our Lord.  

Let our lives shine with Christ’s light –
a blessing of joy to the living,
a beacon of hope to the dying,
the dawning of a new creation.  

All this we pray to you, O God,
through the gift of your Spirit
and in the grace of your Word,
to the glory of you Holy Name.  

And the people say, Amen.     

The Disciples’ Prayer
“Heavenly Mother, Heavenly Father”   
CLICK HERE for video.


Prayer for after communion:
Holy One,
we rise from this table knowing a love beyond our deserving.
Thank you for giving us a place at your table;
serving us the bread of life;
for offering to us,
even to us,
the cup of salvation.

In humility and hope,
we go now from this night to your promised day.
In Christ we pray.  Amen.*

*Feasting on the Word Liturgies for Year B, Vol 1, p216    

Hymn “Joyful, Joyful” VU 232
CLICK HERE for video. 

Commissioning and Benediction 
Now go and tell the good news:      
The Lord of life and light is with us;      
Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.
The very face of God shines upon you with beauty, blessings and peace,      

*Feasting on the Word Liturgies for Year B, Vol 1, p89



  • if you are already on Pre-Authorized Remittance, thank you.
  • we do ask that you continue to offer your financial support even though we are not meeting face to face, our ministry together continues.
  • at the top of this page you will see a "Donate Now" button. If you click on it, it will lead you to our donation page.