Sunday before Lent. 27/2/22 Year C
Reading: Exodus 34:29-end
I wonder what you have prayed for this week. Have you being praying for someone in some kind of need; that they might resolve a problem or find healing? Have you prayed for the people of Ukraine and the terrible evidence of war in their land? Have you been praying for yourself and asking for God’s help in your life?
In today’s reading we have two stories of transfiguration: Moses on Mount Sinai and Jesus’s transfiguration that is witnessed by his close disciples. In the dictionary the verb ‘transfigure’ is described as to transform something (or someone) to something more beautiful or spiritual. This is certainly evident in our two readings: the face of Moses shines following his encounter with God and the face of Jesus changed and his clothes became dazzlingly bright.
Ash Wednesday falls this week and that is the time when we prepare ourselves for the season of Lent. We review our life and our relationship with God and we pray that we too may know our own transfiguration. It is the Christian hope that we shall grow to be more Christ like in our thoughts and actions. We sorrow at our failings and the temptations that continue to distract us. We do not imagine that our faces will shine with heavenly light but we do hope that we may grow spiritually more mature and that our lives may be a witness to our faith.
It is right and proper for us to concern ourselves with our personal spiritual life and our responsibilities for our neighbour.
We know that our neighbours are near at hand and globally distanced. It is hard to imagine the sadness, anger and fear of the families in Ukraine as their powerful neighbour seeks to impose his will on their daily life and on the future of their nation. We are being told we live in dangerous times as European Nato countries watch developments with growing anxiety.
Perhaps this week we can all join our prayers with The Eastern Orthodox Christians in Ukraine and Russia as we all look to God to frustrate the powers of darkness and violence and to prosper the light of hope and peace. History shows us that tyrants and despots do not ultimately triumph: their power comes to an end. They are not God. But sadly many lives may be lost before that happens. So let us play our part and hold this nation before God and trust in his loving purposes for us all.
Our Archbishops have asked us to pray on Tuesday at 6pm for the chaplaincy in Kyiv and the churches that serve Ukraine.
The Pope has asked all Christians to mark Ash Wednesday as a day of fasting and prayer for peace.
We are asked to remember the words of Jesus in John 14.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.