A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Monday, February 24, 2020

Sunday Pastoral Prayer (Feb. 24/Transfiguration Sunday) Athens First UMC

[On this Transfiguration Sunday, we included the congregation of Junction City Good Shepherd UMC in our pastoral prayer. This is one of our Foothills District churches. The building burnt down this past Tuesday. The cause of the fire is under investigation although local law enforcement has someone in custody. Our District Superintendent, Rev. Dennis Miller helped to lead their worship service at a local community center on this first Sunday following the fire. The church was built in 1875 and the letters on the front, “UB” refer to the “United Brethren” denomination which eventually merged into what is now known as the United Methodist Church. Please keep this congregation in your prayers. We specifically gave thanks that nobody was physically injured. Photo courtesy of NBC affiliate, WHIZ. For Sunday’s sermon, click here.]

O God, who is transcendent and wholly other, but who is also imminent and ever present, thank you for revealing yourself to us in so many surprising and timely ways. Thank you for those thin place moments where we are reminded that heaven and earth are closer than we can even imagine.


On this Transfiguration Sunday, we seek to be transfigured as we prepare to transition from these Sundays following the Epiphany and into the Season of Lent. Shine your light upon us. Keep us alert to where you are being made present to us. 


When you send us on an unfamiliar road, open our eyes to the slice of heaven that is suddenly all around us through the astonishing beauty of your creation or maybe as subtle as a butterfly landing gently on a grieving woman’s arm. O God, like Peter, James and John, help us to be alert to your transfiguration moments in our lives.


O God, we lift up to you the many needs that are on our hearts and minds today. We pray for those who are in need of healing. We pray for the congregation of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Junction City, one of our Foothills District churches whose church building burnt down this past week. We pray for them in this time of loss and are grateful that nobody was physically hurt by the fire. 


O God of transcendence and closeness, come near to us this day. May your dazzling light not only shine on the mountain top as it did for the disciples, but may it also shine upon your people when we share with each other in our small groups, when we begin our day in prayer, as we sing hymns during worship, in our conversations during the week, in making a new friend. O God of the transfiguration, come near to us this day and every day.


We pray this in the name of Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, the one who died and rose again for the sake of the world, and the one who teaches us to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

[The inside of the Junction City Good Shepherd UMC that burnt down this past week. Photo courtesy of NBC affiliate, WHIZ.]

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