Today is Monday, the third of October, 2022, in the twenty-seventh week of Ordinary Time.
Peace be with you!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV)
Lord our God, our Father in heaven, we come to you as your children. Bless us, we pray. Bless us especially in days when fear tries to take hold of us. Let your help come down to us as you have promised, the great help in Jesus Christ, who shall come to redeem the whole world. Bless us through your Word. Renew us again and again to stand firm and true to you, for you are our help for redemption and reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Amen. (Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
(2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- that God is reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting our sins against us
- for the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6); O, how I long to see my Savior’s face!
- for the account of the transfiguration of Jesus in Mark 9
- that the Lord has made known His salvation and revealed His righteousness to the nations
- for the promises of Jesus regarding prayer
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. (Psalms 98:1-9 ESV)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
(Psalms 32:8 ESV)
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
(Mark 9:2-8 ESV)
"The tendency of all worship to decline from adoration to demand, and from the supernatural to the ethical, shows how strong a pull is needed to neutralize the anthropocentric trend of the human mind, its intense preoccupation with the world of succession, and its own here-and-now desires and needs." (Evelyn Underhill, quoted in Spiritual Classics, by Richard J Foster and Emilie Griffen)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
(John 14:12-14 ESV)
Today, I want to focus on that passage from Mark, as well as the quote from Ms. Underhill.
Evelyn nails it, in my opinion, in her quote about worship and how we humans tend to make it anthropocentric. That’s a fifty-dollar word that means we put ourselves at the center. And if anyone has been paying attention to modern worship songs, in the course of the last decade or so, they can see the truth in this. I would dare to guess that at least ninety percent of all contemporary worship songs use the pronouns “I” and “me,” rather than “we” or “us,” and the majority of those songs are also not directed to God, but, rather, address what He has done for “me” or what “I” want from Him.
Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with singing about God to each other. That is part of what corporate worship should be . . . retelling the Gospel story to one another. But there is simply too much “I” and “me” in those songs. We think too much about ourselves.
Sadly, this translates over into our daily lives, as well. Just look at the number of alleged Christians who have been screaming about their “rights” in the past few years.
When we gather to worship God, it should be all about Him.
When Jesus took His “inner circle” up on the mountain with Him, they observed His transfiguration. We are not told what they saw, but I can’t help but wonder if it resembled what John saw in Revelation.
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
(Revelation 1:12-16 ESV)
We do know that verse 6 says, “they were terrified.” Terrified is probably one of, if not the, most intense words for “scared.” Quite literally, they were scared speechless. But Peter, being Peter, had to talk anyway, so he blurted out that thing about building tents. One for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Jesus.
Moses appeared, representing the Law. Elijah appeared, representing the Prophets. After Peter spoke, a voice came out of the cloud: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
Now, there are different ways to emphasize that statement. We could emphasize “listen.”
“This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
Or, we could emphasize “him.”
“This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
Based on what happens next, I think the emphasis should be placed on “him.” Why?
And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
(Mark 9:8 ESV)
Beloved, I believe (and trust me, I did not come up with this on my own, it comes from the best sermon on the transfiguration that I have ever heard, by Pastor Kari Malinak of Living Word Lutheran Church, in Grapevine, TX) that this event serves to tell us that Jesus supersedes the Law and the Prophets, and that, from this point forward, we should be listening to Him.
Jesus, Himself, tells us, multiple times in the New Testament, that following His commands fulfills the Law and the Prophets. I’m not saying we should not continue to read and study those. What I’m saying is that if we place more importance on the Old Testament Law than we put on the words of Jesus, we are in error. The voice that came from the cloud (presumably the Father) has told us to listen to Jesus.
So let us live our lives under the influence of Jesus Christ, and let our worship reflect this, as we focus, not on ourselves, but on the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Father, I thank You for Jesus. Those words sound so inadequate. But I don’t know how to express it better. I am thankful for everything that Jesus has done and everything He represents. I thank You for His teachings, His Words, and I thank You for the account of this transfiguration, in which You illustrated to His disciples, and through them, to us, that it is Jesus, and only Jesus to whom we should listen.
Help us to be less like Peter, simply blurting things out when we should be silent. Help us to be more like Jesus in all of our lives. Help us to stop being so self-centered about everything we do, and begin to obey the commands that Jesus gave us, to love You with all of our being, and to love others as ourselves. Help us to fully surrender our “rights,” that we might consider others as more significant than ourselves, as Your Word instructs us to do. Help us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, patience, and gentleness.
Mostly, just help us.
Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!
"Father, I abandon myself into your hands. Do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you. I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me and in all your creatures. I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands I commend my soul. I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands without reserve and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father." Charles de Foucauld
Grace and peace, friends.