Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, February 23, 2020 — Transfiguration Sunday

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, February 23, 2020 — Transfiguration Sunday
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

God of Awe and Glory
Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 99; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9

Opening Statement
Transfiguration Sunday is the last Sunday before Lent. It is a time to celebrate the revelation of Christ to people of faith, a time to connect the glory of God revealed to Moses on Sinai to the glory of God in Christ revealed to Jesus’ disciples. It is also a time of transition from Jesus’ work of teaching and healing to the journey of Lent.

The story of Moses’ mountain ascent to receive God’s commandments is juxtaposed with the story of Jesus’ mountain ascent when he was transfigured in the midst of his disciples. The presence of Moses and Elijah on the mountain with Jesus emphasizes his continuity with the ongoing story of God’s journey with the people of God. Images of light, of the shining glory of God, suffuse today’s readings. As Jesus is transfigured, his face shining like the sun, we see a new world in which God establishes justice and righteousness for all.

Opening Prayer
(based on Exodus 24, Matthew 17)
Holy One, Light of light, God of all creation, long ago you showed yourself to the disciples in Jesus’ transfiguration—his face glowing like a field of daffodils on a bright, spring morning. Shine in us, around us, and through us, that the world may see your glory in the faces of your people—faces transfigured in the light of your love. Amen.

The Collect
(from the Book of Common Prayers)
O God, who before the passion of your only begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
(based on Exodus 24, Matthew 17)
Though we want to walk with Moses and see God’s holy radiance, we hide in the mist of our own desires, unable to perceive the presence of God’s grace. While we want a world of justice and peace, we walk in clouds of selfishness, unable to share God’s loving-kindness. Though we want to follow Jesus up the mountain, we cower in fear, unable to bear the light of God.

Words of Assurance
(based on Matthew 17)
In the blazing light of God’s grace, Jesus touches us to say, “Get up and do not be afraid.” In the name of Christ, all is forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of the Day
O God, in the transfiguration of your Son you confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the witness of Moses and Elijah, and in the voice from the bright cloud declaring Jesus your beloved Son, you foreshadowed our adoption as your children. Make us heirs with Christ of your glory, and bring us to enjoy its fullness, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading
Moses enters the cloud of God’s glory
24:12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”

13 Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. 14 He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”

15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Worship upon God’s holy hill
1  The Lord reigns,
     let the nations tremble;
   he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
     let the earth shake.
2  Great is the Lord in Zion;
     he is exalted over all the nations.
3  Let them praise your great and awesome name—
     he is holy.

4  The King is mighty, he loves justice—
     you have established equity;
   in Jacob you have done
     what is just and right.
5  Exalt the Lord our God
     and worship at his footstool;
     he is holy.

6  Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
     Samuel was among those who called on his name;
   they called on the Lord
     and he answered them.
7  He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
     they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.

8  Lord our God,
     you answered them;
   you were to Israel a forgiving God,
     though you punished their misdeeds.
9  Exalt the Lord our God
     and worship at his holy mountain,
     for the Lord our God is holy.

Second Reading
Shining with the glory of God
1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Gospel Acclamation
(based on Luke 9:35)
Alleluia. This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him. Alleluia!

The Gospel
Christ revealed as God’s beloved Son
17:1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Here end the Readings

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

(based on 2 Peter 1, Matthew 17)
When Jesus’ glory is revealed to us, we become transformed. We are not who we were before. Walk in light and truth. See the light of Christ in every face. Be renewed and be radiant. Be the light of Christ to all you meet. Go as Christians illumined by the glory of God in Christ. Amen.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, February 23, 2020 — Transfiguration Sunday
God of Awe and Glory
Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 99; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9

The Daily Prayer for SUNDAY, February 23, 2020

The Daily Prayer
SUNDAY, February 23, 2020

Polycarp of Smyrna (70—155)

Polycarp was arrested by Roman officials after having served as Bishop of Smyrna for many decades. When the Roman proconsul ordered him to declare that “Caesar is Lord” and to curse Christ, the elderly Polycarp refused, saying, “Eighty-six years I have served him and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” Polycarp was sentenced to death by fire, but the flames miraculously stood like a wall around him and he was not burned. The executioner then stabbed him in the heart, which issued such an abundance of blood that the fire was quenched.

Søren Kierkegaard, a nineteenth-century Danish philosopher, said, “What the age needs is not a genius but a martyr.”

Lord, in our work for justice, let us not seek after martyrdom for its own sake, but neither let us turn away from your truth because we fear suffering. Give us grace to live faithfully whatever the cost. Amen.

Verse of the Day SUNDAY, February 23, 2020

Proverbs 14:22
Do not those who plot evil go astray?
  But those who plan what is good find love and
Read all of Proverbs 14

Listen to Proverbs 14

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un dia a la Vez - Domingo 23 de febrero de 2020

Oración por la amistad

El hombre que tiene amigos ha de mostrarse amigo; y amigo hay más unido que un hermano.

Dios, en este día llego delante de ti para abrirte mi corazón y pedirte protección de las malas amistades. Señor, confieso que he sido débil algunas veces y que me he dejado llevar por malas influencias. Dios mío, te pido perdón si en algún momento he negado mi andar contigo para complacer a personas que están lejos de ti.

Te pido perdón y te reconozco hoy como mi mejor amigo.

Guarda, por favor, a mis hijos de esas malas amistades y dales sabiduría en el momento elegir. También ayúdame para servirles de buen ejemplo a mis hijos, a fin de que vean siempre un ambiente sano y saludable en nuestro hogar.

Aleja, por favor, esas personas que no son un buen ejemplo y enséñame a ser firme para no fallar.

Gracias, mi Dios, gracias, porque eres un Dios de oportunidades.

Te amo. En el nombre de Jesús, amén y amén.

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Dios, en este día llego delante de ti para abrirte mi corazón y pedirte protección de las malas amistades.…

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, February 23, 2020

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Believers in North Korea’s underground church recite five principles, along with the Lord’s Prayer, at their secret gatherings. The special place of purifying suffering in the spiritual life of this church is striking:

1. Our persecution and suffering are our joy and honor.

2. We want to accept ridicule, scorn, and disadvantages with joy in Jesus’ name.

3. As Christians, we want to wipe others’ tears away and comfort the suffering.

4. We want to be ready to risk our lives because of our love for our neighbors so that they also become Christians.

5. We want to live our lives according to the standards set in God’s Word.

Christian singer, Helen Berhane was arrested for sharing her faith in her home country of Eritrea. She spent almost three years in prison, much of this time in a metal shipping container. Because she would not deny her faith or stop sharing her faith, she was beaten so severely she could not walk. During her time in the containers, she wrote new Christian songs and spent her time encouraging other Christian prisoners, as well as witnessing to the prison guards.

After her release, she resettled in Europe and has written her prison memoirs in a small book titled, Song of the Nightingale. In the introduction when describing her feelings inside the shipping container prison, she writes:

Sometimes I cannot believe that this is my life—these four metal walls, all of us corralled like cattle, the pain, the hunger, the fear. All because of my belief in a God who is risen, who charges me to share my faith with those who do not yet know him. A God who I am forbidden to worship. I think back to a question I have been asked many times over my months in prison: “Is your faith worth this, Helen?” As the guards continue on their rounds, I whisper the answer: “Yes.”[1]

RESPONSE: Today I will accept suffering as something that can prove and purify my faith.

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for those trials and challenges that help me be more like You. You are worth it all and more!

1. Helen Berhane, Song of the Nightingale (Colorado Springs: Authentic Media, 2009), p. xiii.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

LHM Daily Devotions February 23, 2020 - Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness

"Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness"

Feb. 23, 2020

♫ "Praise the One who breaks the darkness, With a liberating light; Praise the One who frees the pris'ners, Turning blindness into sight. Praise the One who preached the Gospel, Healing ev'ry dread disease, Calming storms, and feeding thousands, With the very Bread of peace.

"Let us praise the Word Incarnate, Christ, who suffered in our place. Jesus died and rose victorious, That we may know God by grace. Let us sing for joy and gladness, Seeing what our God has done; Let us praise the true Redeemer, Praise the One who makes us one." ♫

John the Baptist had been imprisoned by King Herod. From his cell, he sent messengers to Jesus with a despairing question: "Are you the One who is to come, or shall we look for another?" Was Jesus really the promised Messiah? Jesus did not simply answer, "Yes." Instead, He sent the messengers back to report on what they saw Him doing and teaching: "Go and tell John what you hear and see" (Matthew 11:3-4). Jesus was "turning blindness into sight" and "healing ev'ry dread disease." He was raising the dead and preaching good news to the poor. Yes, Jesus was the One!

Jesus' mighty works proved that He was who He claimed to be—the Son of the God and the Messiah of Israel. Jesus said to those who questioned His identity: "The works that I do in My Father's Name bear witness about Me" (John 10:25b). At Pentecost, the apostle Peter announced that through Jesus' "mighty works and wonders and signs," God the Father testified to His Son's identity (Acts 2:22b).

The greatest sign of all, His resurrection on Easter morning, proved beyond doubt that Jesus was the One foretold by the prophets. Yet, like John, Jesus' disciple Thomas needed assurance. He wanted to see and touch the nail scars that marked Jesus' hands and the scar from the spear in His side. Jesus invited Thomas to touch His wounds while speaking to his doubt: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29b).

We have not yet seen the Lord Jesus. Yet we have the seen and heard the witness of the written Word that testifies to Him. Called by the Spirit to faith in the Word Incarnate, we believe that Jesus is the One! He is the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God, the One whom John recognized and announced as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29b).

Like John (and Thomas), we may doubt and despair, wondering if Jesus really is who He claimed to be, if He can really do all that He has promised. Our assurance is found in that great miracle: His resurrection from the dead. He is the One who on the cross "suffered in our place" and "died and rose victorious." He is the One who "breaks the darkness" of sin, death, and the devil. He is the One who shelters us with His love. He is the One!

THE PRAYER: Dear crucified and risen Lord, we believe You are the Messiah and Savior. Accept our grateful praise, now and for all eternity. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
  1. Have you ever doubted something only to find it was true later?
  2. Do you think Thomas would have eventually come to faith if he hadn't seen the risen Christ? Why or why not?
  3. Today, we believe though we have not seen. What sorts of faith doubts have you dealt with?

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness." Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Have you ever doubted something only to find it was true later?

Unser Täglich Brot - Durchbohrte Liebe

Durchbohrte Liebe

Lesung: Jesaja 53,1-6 | Die Bibel in einem Jahr: 4. Mose 7-8; Markus 4,21-41

Wegen unserer Vergehen wurde er durchbohrt, wegen unserer Übertretungen zerschlagen.

Sie hatte angerufen. Sie hatte eine Nachricht aufs Handy geschrieben. Nun stand Carla vor dem Tor zum Grundstück ihres Bruders. Aber er reagierte nicht. Er war depressiv und suchtkrank und hatte sich zu Hause eingeigelt. Carla war verzweifelt. Sie wollte ihn aus der Isolation herausholen. Deshalb hatte sie ein paar Sachen zum Essen, die er gernhatte, und Mut machende Texte aus der Bibel zusammengesucht. Jetzt ließ sie das Päckchen über den Zaun.

Doch als sie es losließ, blieb es an einem Haken hängen, zerriss und der gesamte Inhalt ergoss sich auf den Kiesweg. Ihre gutgemeinte, liebevolle Gabe schien vergeblich. Ob ihr Bruder sie überhaupt bemerken würde? Würde sie etwas von ihrem Zweck erreichen? Carla kann nur hoffen und beten und warten, dass er heil wird.

Gott hat die Welt so geliebt, dass er—bildlich gesprochen—seinen einzigen Sohn über die Mauer unserer Sünde herabließ, damit er Liebe und Heilung in unser mattes, isoliertes Leben bringt (Joh 3,16). Was ihn das kostet, hat der Prophet Jesaja in Jesaja 53,5 vorausgesagt. Gottes Sohn würde „wegen unserer Vergehen durchbohrt, wegen unserer Übertretungen zerschlagen“. Seine Wunden würden Hoffnung auf endgültige Heilung bringen. Er nahm „die Schuld von uns allen“ auf sich.

Durchbohrt von den Haken unserer Sünde und Not, bringt Gottes Gabe, Jesus, uns heute neue Kraft und Perspektive. Was bedeutet das für dich?
Wie hast du Gottes Liebe erlebt? Konntest du sehen, wie er ein kaputtes Leben durch seine Gnade verändert hat?
Lieber Gott, hab Dank für das Geschenk, das du uns mit Jesus gegeben hast. Du hast ihn über den Zaun gelassen, damit er mir heute gibt, was ich brauche.

© 2020 Unser Täglich Brot
Sie hatte angerufen. Sie hatte eine Nachricht aufs Handy geschrieben. Nun stand Carla vor dem Tor zum Grundstück ihres Bruders. Aber er reagierte nicht.