Pandemic Prayers for Transfiguration Sunday

I love the transformation on this mountaintop.

I love it so much but it feels different this year as we wait for what will be.

We are waiting for what will come. We are hoping that transformation will come but it hasn’t. Not quite yet even as we are starting to ask what we will need when this is over-ish. Laura Stephens-Reed offers this wonderful reflection that landed in my email this morning when I was procrastinating on writing prayers. She offers several bits of wisdom but the one that leaped off the screen for me was the need for outside voices to understand what the church will be.

I think we’ve been struggling for years on what the church will be and we have really muddied the water on what we intend as evidenced in Bruce Springsteen praying for unity through a Super Bowl ad. Diana Butler Bass pointed out its many flaws and called us to a better middle. I’m pondering that as I try to find wonder in this present moment where things don’t feel all that different than they did 10 minutes ago.

Call to Worship
Inspired by 2 Kings 2:1-12

Stay here.
It has been a whirlwind
of confusion and wonder
but you are here. 
You are right here
in this place 
where nothing 
and everything will happen. 

Stay here.
Right here 
in this very room 
where life has unfolded
is now where God will be.
God was always here.

God never left.
God has always
been right here
with you. You have 
wanted to wander. 
You have wanted to be 
anywhere but here
but stay. Stay 
and find God
is here again. 

Maybe this is song or something similar could follow such a prayer. I love it though I admit this is one of those moments I’d rather not sing it in English.

Prayer for the Middle
Inspired by Psalm 50:1-6 and Mark 9: 2-9

Mighty One, you called
for a new day 
in the setting 
and rising of the sun.
It was good. It is good. 

We have been waiting 
for change to come.
There is no high mountain here.
We are in our living rooms
and our kitchens still. 
We go for walks
but we don't get 
to climb to new heights. 
We are not even 
sure we have the strength
but we do not want 
to stay here. We don't want 
this to be all there is
for we dream of what will be
after this is all over.

We dare to believe 
that dazzling things await us.
Somehow, we will step out 
of these dwellings after 
a year or more 
transfigured from 
what we once were,
but we are not there yet.
We are still in the middle 
of this pandemic. We are 
still waiting for the dawn 
of the new day. O God, 
show us what change
has already come. 
We pray in your hope. 
Amen.

I wrote a Transfiguration Communion a few years ago that may also inspire your worship this Sunday. That’s all I’ve got for you this week, dear pastors. I am praying for you. I am praying for you, as always.

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