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Rise Up! It’s Time! God Is Speaking!

Rise Up! It’s Time! God Is Speaking!

The sixth and final lesson in this series is to take what we’ve learned over the past five weeks, to put our faith, hope, and full trust into God, to give Him control, and to heed His call to “Rise Up”.  Rise up, church. Rise up, disciples. Rise up, Child of God. It’s time!

This is the final liturgy in UMC Discipleship Ministries’ Rise Up! worship series for the Season After Epiphany, written for Transfiguration Sunday by UMC Discipleship Ministries. Except for the Reflection and video selection for the hymns they recommended, all work is theirs.

Note: For best understanding and flow, listen to each video where it is placed in the page before moving on to the next portion of text as placement is based on where the music/audio would take place during a live service.

Entrance

The following would be read between stanzas of “Jacob’s Ladder”. 

Unseen Voice 1: Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart,
by themselves. (Mark 9:2b NSRV)

Unseen Voice 2: And Jesus was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. (Mark 9:2c-9:3 NRSV, alt)

Unseen Voice 3: Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, (Mark 9:7-8 NSRV)

Unseen Voice 4: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”

Unseen Voice 3: Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus.

 

Prayer for Illumination (UMH 6)

The Prayer for Illumination would be read by the congregation midway through “Shine”.

Lord, open our hearts and minds
by the power of your Holy Spirit,
that, as the Scriptures are read
and your Word proclaimed,
we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen.

Word and Response

2 Kings 2:1-12 CEB

Now the Lord was going to take Elijah up to heaven in a windstorm, and Elijah and Elisha were leaving Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, because the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you live, I won’t leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

The group of prophets from Bethel came out to Elisha. These prophets said to Elisha, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”

Elisha said, “Yes, I know. Don’t talk about it!”

Elijah said, “Elisha, stay here, because the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you live, I won’t leave you.” So they went to Jericho.

The group of prophets from Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”

He said, “Yes, I know. Don’t talk about it!”

Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, because the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”

But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives and as you live, I won’t leave you.” So both of them went on together. Fifty members from the group of prophets also went along, but they stood at a distance. Both Elijah and Elisha stood beside the Jordan River. Elijah then took his coat, rolled it up, and hit the water. Then the water was divided in two! Both of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “What do you want me to do for you before I’m taken away from you?”

Elisha said, “Let me have twice your spirit.”

Elijah said, “You’ve made a difficult request. If you can see me when I’m taken from you, then it will be yours. If you don’t see me, it won’t happen.”

They were walking along, talking when suddenly a fiery chariot and fiery horses appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went to heaven in a windstorm.

Elisha was watching, and he cried out, “Oh, my father, my father! Israel’s chariots and its riders!” When he could no longer see him, Elisha took hold of his clothes and ripped them in two.

The word of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God.

Reflection for Sunday, February 11, 2018 (Transfiguration Sunday) – Rise Up! It’s Time.

This reflection is late … it’s actually Ash Wednesday, and I have been battling the flu in my home for the better part of 10 days. Rising up has become as much a physical goal as a spiritual goal. I find it hard to sit up, let alone rise up. I have a constant and consistent headache, dizziness that won’t quit, heavy sinus pressure around my eyes that makes reading or even looking anywhere but straight ahead difficult and painful.

That’s not a complaint or plea for pity. It’s an analogy for the feeling many of us may be having relevant to the chaotic upheaval that is the modern world and the difficulty we have rising up both to face it and to do something about it. When fight requires more than we can comprehend or muster, when there are more battles than there are soldiers, flight seems a natural response. Live to fight another day and all that.

It’s times like these, though, that turning to God, seeking His voice, trusting in Him to guide us becomes critically important. We are promised that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. That promise doesn’t apply to winning 10Ks or phenomenal success in business. It means that when we face difficult situations, Christ is with us, God is speaking to us, and the Holy Spirit is guiding us.

In the scripture, Elisha had ample opportunity to hang back, to not face what was coming – Elijah’s impending “death” – and to play it safe. Instead, Elisha kept rising to the next occasion and, in the end, took up Elijah’s mantle as his own. Granted, he went through a grieving process (tore his clothes) over the loss of his mentor, Elijah, but … ultimately … he rose up with Elijah’s mantle in hand.

Over the past weeks, we have learned about listening for God’s voice, about both listening for answers and being an answer. We’ve learned to accept when He speaks and tells us it’s time to move. We’ve learned to focus on what He is saying instead of what the world is telling us.

Now we must rise up and put what we’ve learned to work. God sent light to the world in the form of His son, Jesus Christ. When Christ ascended into heaven to sit again with God, Christ left the mantle of his light with us to carry to the world.

The time is now. Rise up, church. God is speaking.

Affirmation of Faith Apostles’ Creed (UMH 882)

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray, offering our intercessions with the church and the world in the words of the
Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.”
Lord Jesus Christ, you reveal yourself to your disciples, and to us, in all your glory. We
are left speechless. Send us the Holy Spirit to pray in and through us for the church and
the world with sighs too deep for words:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.

For the leaders and members of your church throughout the world, that we may not
seek to build shrines, but listen to you in simple obedience:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.

For the leaders of nations, corporations, states, cities, and other seats of influence and
power, that their hearts and actions may be turned toward justice, peace, and the
common good of all people:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.

For the earth– the land, the rivers, the seas, the skies– and for all that live with us upon
it, that we may sustain it and one another in this life:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.

For all who are sick, hurting, or dying, and for all who accompany them on journeys
toward healing or release, especially (names of persons known to your local
community):
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.

For all who are abused or oppressed, and all who suffer because of war, or famine, or
disaster, or imprisonment, that justice and deliverance may come:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy.

For ourselves, for the forgiveness of our sin, and for the courage of Elisha to dare to ask
for a double portion of your Spirit that we may boldly follow where Jesus leads:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon us, sinners in your sight.

Pastor:  In the name of Christ, you are forgiven.
People: In the name of Christ, you are forgiven.
All: Glory to God. Amen.

Pastor: The peace of Christ be always with you.
People: And also with you.

Pastor: Live in love, and Christ loved us, and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering
and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2, NRSV)

Offertory and Thanksgiving

During this time in a live service, the congregation would take time to pass the peace and give an offering. I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, a neighbor you don’t normally speak with, a co-worker that doesn’t seem to “fit in” with the group, and to consider giving a small contribution to an organization that rises up for righting social injustice. Listen for God’s voice and direction, His answer in who to reach out to and where to make your offering, move as He directs, focus on His voice and rise to His occasion, not your own. Become a carrier of His light in this world. Give Him the glory.

Spoken Word

Taylor Burton-Edwards

You’re speaking, God,
but am I ready for this,
to lis… to go where Jesus leads?

That’s a cross, all loss,
the dross of the earth,
no worth, go there. And that’s
where Jesus leads?

Where he bleeds,
you need me to go?

Whoa!

Just get me ready, Lord.
I want to be ready.

Dismissal with Blessing

Jesus shines with glory.
We are his body.

God speaks the sober truth.
We must listen to Jesus, and follow where he leads.

You who shine now with Christ’s glory,
go now from the mountain into the valley,
from rejoicing to suffering,
from fellowship to persecution,
from a vision of eternal life to the realities of mortality,
from Transfiguration to Lent.
God has work for us to do.
Let’s start getting ourselves
and the seekers in our midst
ready to do it:
in the name of God,
Holy Three, Holy One. Amen.

NOTES AND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Many thanks to the team at UMC Discipleship Ministries for providing the prayers, poem, scripture interpretation and song lists for this series. (©Discipleship Ministries 2018).