Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to many of the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.

Parts of today’s liturgy are taken from Ancestors and Ancestry:  A Service for Black History Month, by Rev. Debbie McMillan, and, 2019 Black History Month: International Decade for People of African Descent: A service of Word and Sacrament from The United Church of Canada / United Church of Christ


God places us in the world as fellow workers-agents of transfiguration. We work with God so that injustice is transfigured into justice, so there will be more compassion and caring, that there will be more laughter and joy, that there will be more togetherness in God’s world.

~Desmond Tutu


   We often speak of mountaintop experiences as those joyous times we look forward to with excitement and look back upon fondly, such as summer camp or an annual hiking trip. The mountaintop moments in today’s readings were different: awe-inspiring, yes, but also full of devouring fires, clouds, and fear. Vision is obscured, the familiar becomes unknown, and nothing is the same. People get lost in fires, clouds, and fear, unable to find their way, but God’s presence is where we get both lost and found. Many biblical encounters with God involved fear, pointing to the awesome reality of God that is much more than the gentle shepherd we often imagine (though God is that, too). We can no more plan our mountaintop times with God than we can stay there forever, as much as we think we would like to. God’s place is to invite, ours to respond, faces bowed to the ground.

   Eventually, of course, the time comes to leave that mountain, walking with Jesus down to the valley and getting dusty with the ashes of daily life. Many churches symbolically “roll up the Alleluias” today, recognizing that this is the end of a glorious season celebrating Christ’s light and the entrance to a no-less-real season of Jesus’ and our own lives, the “valley” season of Lent. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do down in the valley. On the contrary, the traditional disciplines of Lent—fasting, prayer, and gifts to the poor—all help us maintain the eyes, ears, and heart to see and hear God whenever and however God appears.


We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.

Holy One, Creator of all that is, seen and unseen, of story and of song, of heartbeat and of tears of bodies, souls, voices and all relations: you are the God of all truth and the way of all reconciliation. Uphold with your love and compassion all who open their lives in the sacred sharing of their stories breathe in us the grace to trust in your loving forgiveness, that we may face our histories with courage; touch us through the holy gift of story that those who speak and those who listen may behold your own redeeming presence; guide us with holy wisdom to enter through the gates of remorse that our feet may walk gently and firmly on the way of justice and healing. Amen.

~From the Anglican Church of Canada


Look back! Look back with courage!
Face the truth God reveals to you!
Look forward! Look forward with hope!
Look to the future! See possibilities growing from the seeds of lessons learned!
There is NO shame in learning history! There is NO shame in relearning history!
Let us learn and unlearn history together.
Wisdom is vindicated by all her children.
And all God’s children proclaim: “So be it!” “Amen!”

CHILDREN’S SONG: WOV 649  I Want To Walk As A Child Of The Light


Almighty God, Source of Life and Life itself.  Your Holy Spirit gathers us into your presence as a hen gathers her chicks to herself.  In the safety of this sacred space help us settle into this time of being together: individuals in shared community through Christ and with Christ. Help us push aside distracting thoughts that impede our learning and our listening. Help us uncover our fears: drive out each one with your perfect and perfecting love so that we can be changed in mind and will be changed in heart.  Thank you for accepting us as teachable: thank you for accepting us as willing disciples willing to grow in our faith, in our Spirits, and in our connection to you and to one another. This, we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.


We are not alone; we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:  who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:  to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.  Thanks be to God.


With God, the ordinary becomes extraordinary!  There is Jesus, on the mountain top with three disciples, just standing there talking, and then God steps in and – WOW!  Jesus’ clothes become so dazzling bright, the disciples can’t look at him!  Then, two people, who have been dead for a very long time, suddenly appear and start talking to Jesus!  I think that would have made me run down the mountain, screaming in fear!  But wait, God isn’t done!  Peter, in his nervousness, begins to ramble on until God finally SPEAKS!  And what does God say?  “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”  Yep, I would drop to the ground and hid my face too, Peter!

When we are afraid, it can be difficult to hear God’s voice.  That is why it is important to have a faith family.  We are here to support each other, help take away the fear, and hear God’s voice that tells us to listen to Jesus, the voice of love.  No, things don’t always miraculously become better.  Life does, however, get a little easier because between God, family, faith family and friends, we know we are never alone.

MINUTE FOR MISSION:  Update: 40 Days of Engagement on Anti-Racism

From October 11 to November 25, 2022, the 40 Days of Engagement on Anti-Racism program was relaunched with brand new content. The response to date has been overwhelming, with high levels of participation.

The program, designed to move people through a journey towards becoming anti-racist, offered an opportunity for participants within the United Church and beyond to engage in learning and develop their faith.

The learnings allow for deep, thought-provoking discussion for both individuals and communities of faith. Written reflections, video workshops, and readings explore internalized racism, systemic racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, and more.

The United Church of Canada has made the declaration that it will become an anti-racist denomination, and the work of becoming anti-racist is an ongoing journey for everyone. Your Mission & Service gifts support expanding this crucial initiative each year, amplifying voices and encouraging deep reflection.

To deepen your learning and understanding, 40 Days of Engagement on Anti-Racism materials are available at any time on the United Church website.


Merciful God, teach us to be faithful in change and uncertainty, that trusting in your word and obeying your will, we may enter the unfailing joy of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


First Reading: Exodus 24:12-18

At Mount Sinai, Moses experienced the presence of God for forty days and forty nights. The “glory of the Lord” settled on the mountain, and on the seventh day God called out to Moses. On the mountain God gave Moses the stone tablets inscribed with the ten commandments.

12The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.”

15Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. 17Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Psalm 2

R:  You are my son; this day have I begotten you. (Ps. 2:7)

1Why are the nations in an uproar?  Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
2Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt, and the princes plot together,

     against the Lord and against the Lord’s anointed?
3“Let us break their yoke,” they say; “let us cast off their bonds from us.”
4God whose throne is in heaven is laughing; the Lord holds them in derision. R
5Then in wrath God speaks to them, and in rage fills them with terror.
6“As for me, I have anointed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.”
7Let me announce the decree of the Lord, who said to me, “You are my son; this day have I

begotten you.
8Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth

     for your possession. R
9You shall crush them with an iron rod and shatter them like a piece of pottery.”
10And now, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11Submit to the Lord with fear, and with trembling bow in worship;
12lest the Lord be angry, and you perish in a sudden blaze of wrath.
Happy are all who take refuge in God! R

Second Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-21

At the transfiguration, God’s voice was heard, declaring Jesus to be the beloved Son. By the activity of the Holy Spirit, God’s voice continues to be heard through the word of scripture.

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” 18We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

19So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9

Shortly before he enters Jerusalem, where he will be crucified, Jesus is revealed to Peter, James, and John in a mountaintop experience of divine glory called the transfiguration.

1Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

HYMN:  VU 103  How Good, Lord, To Be Here


The summer before covid hit the junior youth group met at the Hamilton’s for their summer event.  The lake temperature was on the cooler side and since I am always hot, I was the only adult in the water.

Little Hazel was watching the other children run and jump off the end of the dock, making large splashes of water as they cannonballed into the lake.  I could see Hazel desperately wanted to join in the fun, yet she was too afraid to run and jump.  So, she tried an alternate plan.

Hazel stood on the side of the dock, looking at me, weighing her options.  I stood still; arms open, ready to catch her when she jumped.  I told her that I would catch her, that she would be okay.  Nope, not gonna happen!  Hazel ran back down the dock to her parents, watched the other children for a minute, then came running back to stand on the edge of the dock once more.  I could see her mind working around her fear.  The others were having so much fun…!

Then, she made her decision and lunged at me off the dock!  She had conquered her fear!  Suddenly, her world was wide open and she could enjoy jumping into the water with the others and laugh, splash and say, “’gen’”, over and over and over, until she was worn out.  Hazel, you go girl!

“Do not be afraid.”

It’s easy to overlook the presence of these four words near the tail end of Jesus’ transfiguration. After all, there’s so much else going on — the dazzling clothes, the appearance of Moses and Elijah, the thunderous voice from heaven, the disciples fainting to the ground. But while easily overlooked, these four words are among the most important words not just in this passage, but in the whole of Scripture.

Think about it. These words — “do not be afraid” — are the hallmark of the Gospel, as throughout Old and New Testaments they signal the coming rescue of God and consequent courage that promise creates. They are the words, for instance, with which the angel Gabriel greets Mary in the quiet of her home and with which the heavenly host addresses the shepherds as they keep watch by night. And, perhaps more importantly, in relation to this passage, they are the words the angel of the Lord uses at the end of this story when encouraging the women who came seeking Jesus in the tomb.

    Do not be afraid. Powerful words. Even more so when you consider that they follow Jesus’ instructions to “get up.” Except it’s not just “get up,” it’s “be raised,” as this is the same word used, again by the angel, to describe Jesus’ resurrection. So, hear the latter part of the story again: the voice from heaven affirms Jesus’ identity as the beloved Son and commands Peter and company to listen to him — that is, hear his words, follow his commands, be obedient to his summons. In response, they fall to the ground in terror. And then Jesus reaches out and commands them, literally, to be raised and no longer fear.

No wonder this scene has been called by some a “displaced resurrection story” — the dazzling light, the command to be raised, the command to not fear. It parallels the resurrection scene except in this scene it is not Jesus’ resurrection but that of the disciples, as they are pulled from their fear and failure to new life and courage.

What is interesting is that Jesus doesn’t rebuke them for their failure, or call them to repentance, or grant them forgiveness. Rather, he calls them to be raised and to shed their fear, sending them forth into life restored and renewed.

Might we take a lesson from this? Might we literally “listen to him” and go and do likewise? So much of the Christian story has been constructed in almost entirely negative terms, in terms, that is, of what we are not. Human nature is not good, but rather wicked and depraved. Sin, understood as all those things we do wrong, is evidence of our inadequacy. And grace, from this point of view, becomes only the antidote to sin, that which makes up for our lack.

But as I read this story, I’m struck that there is no mention of sin, depravity, or failure — no description or condemnation of any kind of lack. Rather, Jesus speaks the word of resurrection that casts out fear, creates unexpected possibilities, and furnishes new life. Jesus speaks of what is and of what may be in the power of the Spirit.

God calls us to discipleship — “listen to him” — and sometimes when we sense God’s presence and call, we fall into fear.  When this happens, God doesn’t scold or rebuke or chastise, but instead calls us to get up, to be raised, and to be bound by fear no longer.

Remember Jesus’ word to his disciples then and now: Do not be afraid! For God’s Word is, indeed, living and active, able to raise the dead to life and more than capable of equipping us with courage and compassion sufficient to the challenges and opportunities of the day.

Thank you for your part in sharing that mighty Word.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH:  ELW 715  Christ, Be Our Light


God of Transfiguration,

Your power reveals truth in all its beauty, in all its difficulty, in all its complexity.

You embrace us in our diversities—loving us, accepting us.

We ask you to unite us through the power of your Spirit so that we may work to manifest your presence
In creation;

Speak in our voices as we raise them in prayer.

God of Transfiguration:

Illuminate systems of exploitation and injustice:

Systems that dislocate and enslave.

Tear down the monuments we build to ourselves and for ourselves:

Cast down self-congratulatory privilege when we seek to pat ourselves on our back

When we are only doing what we should or when we are doing nothing and it is you at work.

Lift us out of missions that are photo-ops, and lead us into the ongoing work of partnership and community building.

Most Holy God, lead us away from the lofty places, the pretty places, the safe places and into the streets and alleys―into hospital rooms with lonely patients into schoolyards with bullied children―
Into places we can’t see because they are on the margins but places that are known to you.

Most holy God, we pray for those known to us.  Gather these prayers in the one Jesus taught us to say when we are together:


SENDING SONG:   VU 333  Love Divine, All Loves Excelling


Look forward, look back, look outward, look within, and look around!  Learn your histories: those of your family and those of your faith. As you do, remember you are a beloved child of God, a precious sibling of Christ, and a treasured companion to the Holy Spirit. Stay blessed and bless up. Amen.



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© 2011 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncsa/2.5/ca.