Worship Resources for Transfiguration Sunday (2/14) and Ash Wednesday (2/17)



Photo by Tamar Dolev.
Sunset from Norfolk Island. Feel free to use it. If you want to know more about this beautiful island, then visit


by Barb Hedges-Goettl
‘God Almighty, we give you thanks for your creation and care,
for the words and witness of those who have gone before us,
and of those who live the Christian life alongside us.
We thank you for your steadfast, eternal presence,
even when we do not see, hear or follow you.

You sent your son Jesus to reveal you love.
Through his birth, life, death, and resurrection,
you reveal to us the way, the truth and the life–
not just at the Transfiguration on the mountain,
but in this very time and place
through the bread and cup you give us to share.
And so we praise and thank you
with these people in this place,
and with all your people across every time and place.

By the work of your Holy Spirit,
reveal to us that we eat together at the very table of Christ Jesus.
Make us one with you and with each other.

Through this holy meal,
teach us to know and follow your way.
Ground and settle us in your truth,
and make us sharers of your abundant and eternal life.

[Confirm what we know.
Reveal to us what we do not know.
Fill us up with whatever we lack.
Keep us faithfully in your service
until we feast together in your eternal kingdom.]

Following Christ Jesus, himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
we do what he commanded us to do:

Like him, we take bread, and having given thanks,
we break it and give it to the disciples, saying, as Christ Jesus did,
“Take, eat, this is my body broken for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

And, also like Jesus, we take the cup, saying
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Prayer of Confession

(from Psalm 51:1-4, New Living Translation adapted by Barb Hedges-Goettl)
 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Forgive me, O God.
In your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Forgive me, O God
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. Forgive me, O God
For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Forgive me, O God
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned. Forgive me, O God
I have done what is evil in your sight. Forgive me, O God


Opening Prayer/Confession of Faith

by Barb Hedges-Goettl

We gather together as the church

When we can’t summon our “Jesus-loves-me” smiles

When we are not feeling happy or better

When traditions don’t seem to suffice

When we know all too well that we are ashes and dust

                    Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

When we are not sure how to come before God

When we miss being in our building

When we miss being with our community

When all seems strange and uncertain           

          Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

When we need to lament

When we are a grieving people, a weeping people,

When we are dependent on God for help and healing

When we seek God’s Kingdom until that Kingdom comes

          Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

Because God creates in us a clean heart, a new and right spirit within us

Because God restores to us the joy of salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit

Because God does not cast us away, or take God’s holy spirit from us

Because God restores to us the joy of God’s salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit

 we gather together as the church. THANKS BE TO GOD!

Children’s sermon (good for grownups too!)

Found at

Lent Ideas with Children: Narrative Lectionary Luke

Children Ideas: Meditate on Dirt together (Ideally with dirt): What is dirt? 
Discuss God as creator and make clay/playdo people together, Bury the Alleluias:
(Post includes an image of Pigpen from Peanuts, with his quote about where his dirt has been before it landed on him!)

See also and and nfleshed,  a non profit creating and facilitating resources or spiritual nourishment for collective liberation, which can be found at

Commentary by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome on Rafael’s painting Transfiguration on the possessed boy and the female figure depicted there! in text or in video

Ignatian prayer exercise to match the above art commentary exercise/

Psalm 137 Worship Resources

Cover photo: An aerial view of protesters gathered near the makeshift memorial in honor of George Floyd, marking one week since his death (Minneapolis). Photo by Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images.

We are using the 2020 Presbyterian Women’s Horizons Bible Study for our Summer Series:  Into the Light: Finding Hope Through Prayers of Lament, a $10 resources with 9 lessons. This is week 2 on lamenting together; week 1 was intro to lament.

Singing the Lord’s Song/being in communion when separated and in times of darkness

How do we sing the Lord’s Song when our world’s violence makes any thoughts of even one peaceful Sabbath a pipe dream? When you’re in such a dark place that you wish death on somebody, maybe even yourself? When our people and communities are broken, divided by illness, grief, spite or sheer vengeance? When your own church’s communion – much less the world’s – seems impossible?

From Sacredise:

The readings this week offer a fascinating juxtaposition of ideas. The Old Testament and Psalm readings all explore the pain and humiliation of God’s people when they are defeated, conquered and exiled, and as they long for forgiveness restoration and salvation. Even Psalm 37 deals with similar issues, albeit in a more generalised way, speaking of the pain and confusion that arises when destructive or evil people prosper, and the difficult work of faith and patience in God’s action on behalf of those who trust God’s ways. The New Testament readings, on the other hand, explore the impact that a life of simple, ordinary faith can have, and the attitude of humble servanthood which expects no undue reward for simply living faithfully. In essence, both Testaments are saying the same thing this week.
In a world where bad things happen to good people, and where it often appears that the lawless and ‘godless’ get the best, it can be tough to live in faith and faithfulness. Justice can take a long time to come, and it can be tempting to use any means – however undesirable – to achieve what we long for. This applies even when our goal is to manifest God’s reign. However, as we live in faithfulness, and pass our faith on to others who come after us, the small, ordinary acts of goodness and justice that we do each day, the small faithful commitments to our convictions that we renew each day, really do ‘move mountains’ and change the world, little by little, into a place where God’s salvation is visibly revealed.

GLOBAL APPLICATION: In the light of the huge challenges facing our world – hunger and poverty, human rights abuses, unequal distribution of resources, human trafficking, dread diseases, environmental degradation, conflict and war – it is easy to get frustrated and impatient, and it is extremely tempting to embrace any strategy that gets results. The danger here, though, is that we can too easily become what we seek to overcome, and our efforts, which may appear successful in the short term, leave us in deeper trouble in the long term. Two important principles that the lectionary offers us this week are 1) the power of small acts of goodness and justice, and 2) the need to think systemically and long term, waiting at the “guard post on the wall” (to use Habakkuk’s image) to observe, nurture and cooperate with any manifestations of God’s reign that emerge. In the world of big business, big politics, and powerful lobby groups, such long term thinking can be frustrating, but, as demonstrated by Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela (it must have taken faith to spend 27 years in jail and then still embrace dialogue as a valid process to end apartheid) such faithful, consistent and just living does result in significant change. What long term commitments to justice can you embrace or renew in your community this week?

LOCAL APPLICATION: Perhaps the best focus, on the local level, this week, is the power of small, ordinary, “everyday” acts of justice. When we refuse to live according to the expedient, self-centred, materialist values of the society around us, it may appear to have no impact, and we may feel like we become nothing more than a laughing stock – a people in exile, suffering for what may sometimes feel like foolish and ineffectual convictions, while those around us “live it up” and succeed. The promise of the Scriptures, though, is that such alternative living does have an impact – a significant one – and also has lasting value – becoming the heritage of faith and goodness that is passed down through generations and across communities. The reassurance this gives is that our suffering is not in vain, and that our faithfulness is useful to God. In our “instant gratification” society, such perseverance and endurance is hard and counter-cultural, but is a powerful witness to the Gospel. Where has your church’s commitment to “everyday justice” grown tired or weak? In what ways do you need to renew your commitment to persevere? What alternate living choices do you need to make or renew together? To whom can your faith heritage be passed on? What can you do to inspire and sustain small, long term, commitments in your community this week?


Psalm 137:1

בָּכָה bâkâh, baw-kaw’; a primitive root; to weep; generally to bemoan:—× at all, bewail, complain, make lamentation, × more, mourn, × sore, × with tears, weep.

Psalm 137:3 captors/tormenters

תּוֹלָל tôwlâl, to-lawl’; from H3213; causing to howl, i.e. an oppressor:—that wasted.

Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon [?]

Psalm 137:7 rase/tear down/lay bare

The KJV translates Strong’s H6168 in the following manner: uncover (3x), discover (3x), emptied (2x), rase (2x), leave destitute (1x), make naked (1x), poured out (1x), poured (1x), spreading (1x).

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  1. to be bare, be nude, uncover, leave destitute, discover, empty, raze, pour out
    1. (Piel)
      1. to bare, lay bare
      1. to lay bare by emptying, empty
      1. to pour out
    1. (Hiphil)
      1. to make naked, strip bare (of sexual offences)
      1. to pour out
    1. (Niphal) to be poured out, be exposed
    1. (Hithpael)
      1. to expose oneself, make oneself naked
      1. pouring oneself, spreading oneself (participle)

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

עָרָה ʻârâh, aw-raw’; a primitive root; to be (causatively, make) bare; hence, to empty, pour out, demolish:—leave destitute, discover, empty, make naked, pour (out), rase, spread self, uncover.

Psalm 137:8 ravaging the daughter of Jerusalem

The KJV translates Strong’s H7703 in the following manner: spoil (30x), spoiler (11x), waste (8x), destroy (2x), robbers (2x), miscellaneous (5x).

Outline of Biblical Usage [?]

  1. to deal violently with, despoil, devastate, ruin, destroy, spoil
    1. (Qal)
      1. to violently destroy, devastate, despoil, assail
      1. devastator, despoiler (participle) (subst)
    1. (Niphal) to be utterly ruined
    1. (Piel)
      1. to assault
      1. to devastate
    1. (Pual) to be devastated
    1. (Poel) to violently destroy
    1. (Hophal) to be devastated

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)

שָׁדַד shâdad, shaw-dad’; a primitive root; properly, to be burly, i.e. (figuratively) powerful (passively, impregnable); by implication, to ravage:—dead, destroy(-er), oppress, robber, spoil(-er), × utterly, (lay) waste.

Psalm 137: Complex Communal Laments


Journal of Biblical Literature

Vol. 127, No. 2 (Summer, 2008), pp. 267-289 (23 pages)

Imagine the 267N5 Imagine the act of decapitating little children or infants against the edge or corner of the wall of Jerusalem. Something that is supposed to protect is now employed to behead. The violent and traumatic visual image of such a repeated act goes beyond anything we can comprehend.

Mock-simha; fake song of victory over enemies

275 Why would Ps. 137k accentuated by laments & curses, be place in the midst of these 0135-137] Thanksgiving and praise psalms? This is a bold but unconventional editorial move that proposed to give thanks and praise through lament laden with honest feelings of enmity. Thhanksgiving and praise arise not only from positive elements in life. Rther the true mark of these practices if finding the courage & strength to praise & give thanks when there is nothing worthwhile or praiseworthy. 176 Brueggemann says that Ps 137 is marked not by despair but by hope. However, we cannot move into this hopeful realm all too quickly without allowing the pathos to resound and have its rightful place. The ? is, Can those in Babylon, both the first wave and the second wave of forced migrants collectively voice “Hallelujah” or “Thanks be to God” in the midst of their most difficult time? The answer seems to be complex.

278 by the waters of Babylon; by the irrigation canals where the Judean royalty and religious leadership were put to work maintaining/desalinating the canals.

280 weeping willows crying for those who hung the harps

v.3 wordplay beween captors, tormenters & hung

282 For there our captors asked us for the words of a song, but our tormenters asked for mirth, ‘Sing for us a Zion song!’

283 Captors, Babyonians, may be separate from torments, who may be fellow-laborers who are not Jewish.

284 Bookends: Forget/do not remember

Musician wiling to forgo righthand instrument & mouth/tongue for praising God

College Press NIV Commentary 470

v. 5 Wordplay: forget with become crippled/lamed

Conversations Among Exiles

by Walter Brueggemann

The Christian Century, July 2-9, 1997, pp. 630-632.


In response to times of crisis, Leviticus urged the practice of holiness, and Deuteronomy stressed neighborliness. Unless the experience of loss is expressed, examined and understood, new ways of living are not able to emerge.

In our time of dislocation the church can offer ways of speaking and acting that the dominant society regards as subversive, but without which we cannot for long stay human.
The church can
1) express sadness, rage and loss as an alternative to the denial that inevitably breeds brutality.
2) be a voice of holiness that counters the trivial commodity-centered world by the practice of disciplines that make communion possible.
3) be a voice of imaginative, neighborly transformation, focused on those in need.
4) express new social possibilities, rooted in the truth of God’s good news.

Before us is the choice between succumbing to a fearful self-preoccupation that shrivels the spirit or heeding God’s call to re-enter the pain of the world and the possibility of renewal and salvation. [Numbers added]

Juneteenth  Maafa service – Maafa is an African word used to refer to four centuries of worldwide enslavement of black people.   The remembering in Psalm 137 (v. 1, 6, 7) occasions anguish, accountability and anger. Babylonians asking for a kind of minstrel show. Includes sermon illustrations.

Phrase from an article that is no longer at the link: Hope without singing. British Bishop on singing the Lord’s song in a strange land in a time of COVID-19


Call to Worship, Prayer, Personal Meditation by Joan Stot[27]c_2013.htm

Includes dealing with the last vengeful verses and provides alternative of Lamentations 3:21-26 as an assurance of pardon or final blessing.

Our bulletin is at!AuB3z496aTHTgcYfmV3FepVsFsaFng

The sermon will be here; target date is 6/15.!AuB3z496aTHTgcYfmV3FepVsFsaFng

Psalms in a Time of Sickness: Psalm 4

Psalm 4

O God, you are right and just and true.

When I call with a loud cry,

    You answer me.

You widen the straits of distress

   that bind and besiege me.

When my world is small, narrow, and cramped,

  You give me room to breathe.

When I am stuck between a rock and hard place,

   You let me loose in your broad, wide pasture.

You bend to me in kindness and mercy,

    understanding my prayer.

How long will people hurt God’s reputation

     and damage God’s honor and glory?

How long will we love empty words,

     seeking lies and requiring falsehoods,

     and yearning after worthless things?

Set us aside for yourself, O Lord.

     Make us your good and faithful ones,

     Your kind and godly ones,

     Your saints by Your mercy.

O Lord, hear me when I call to you.

When I am trembling and quivering,

       Agitated and disturbed,

       Angry and disquieted,

       Worried and anxious,

             Keep me from sin.

Inspire me to meditate on you at night.

    Put me to bed and tuck me in with your comfort.

    Whisper to the ears of my heart, that I may hear you.

    Quiet and calm me in my whole being.

I confess my dependence on you.

    Enable me to wait upon you

    With confidence and patience.

I offer myself in thanksgiving;

    I give myself to you because of your mercy.

    I respond to your love with love of my own.

    I respond to the all you give me

        With my all.

I put my trust in you.

    I hold out my hand for your hand.

    I offer my heart to your heart.

    I offer my mind to your purposes.

    I offer my body to your body.

Be my hope,

      my boldness,

      my security,

      my confidence,

             my God.

There are many who say:

       “Oh, that we might perceive some good!”

Shine your light upon us, O God!

        Make your presence dawn upon us.

Give us joy and gladness

        at our deepest heart of hearts–

Joy greater than a bountiful harvest

         or material riches.

Bestow gladness in our very being,

         A share in your joy.

We will lie down and sleep;

         We will be stilled and remain at peace,

         dwelling in God’s house,

         where we can safely lie down.

Thanks be to God.

Psalm 3: Psalms in a Time of Sickness

Psalm 3

O Lord, so much troubles us. So much is rising up against us.                                                                         Danger is crowding us, pursuing us.

Many say that you will not help us.                                        But we proclaim that you are our only hope.     You are our shield. You are our glory.                                                               You alone can lift up our heads,                                                                           now bowed in shame and sorrow.

We cry out to you, O Lord.                                                                                  You hear us from your holy dwelling place. Then we lay down and sleep in peace                                                        and wake up safely, for you are watching over us.                                                                                                             

Though surrounded by ten thousand evils on every side,        we are not afraid. We cry to you, “Arise, O Lord!” Save us, O God. Disempower all that threatens us.                                  Leave our enemies powerless to harm us.                                                       

Victory comes from you, O Lord. Give us joy even in the midst of our trials;                                                               open our eyes to our blessings.


Psalms in a Time of Sickness: Psalm 2

Why, O God, are there swarms and gatherings? Why do we rage and revolt?
Instead of serving God and God’s people, we seek our own ways and our own good. Earth’s leaders–those of power and position– are deaf to the counsel of those who heed the signs and to the danger to body and soul.

Without you, even working together is madness. You have crowned your Son King of the earth on your holy hill, granting him all power and majesty. You reveal your purposes through him.
We bow before him, listening while there is still time. We serve you with reverent fear. We rejoice with trembling. We fall down before your Son and kiss his feet. Save us from your wrath. Grant us the joy that only comes from trusting in you. Amen.

Psalms in a Time of Sickness: Psalm 1

Psalm 1: Psalms in a Time of Sickness

O God, bless us by making us more and more your people.

Keep us from following the bad advice of those who aren’t seeking you.

Redirect us away from the paths taken by those who don’t listen to you.

Free us from sitting with those who disbelieve the truth

    and scorn compassion.

Let us delight in you: in your Word and your teachings.

Fill our hearts, minds, and souls with you every hour of the day and night.

Plant us by your streams of living water. Grow us into trees rooted in you.

Make us fruitful according to your time and plan.

Let us flourish as your people, following your way,

    without withering or faltering.

Those who don’t follow you are like chaff driven by the wind.

They cannot withstand judgment.

They do not stand with the congregation of the righteous.

Their way perishes.

Chart the path for us, O God.

Watch over us on the way, O Lord, to you.

May your way guide our feet,

    and our paths help others find their way.

In the name of Jesus, our Guide and Pioneer, Amen.

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