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Transfiguration of Jesus

Lent 2 5 March 2023

Transfiguration of Jesus

Let us pray (in silence) [that we may grow into the likeness of Christ]


Transfiguring God,
before the passion of your beloved Son
you revealed his glory on the holy mountain:
grant that we who by faith behold the light of his face
may be strengthened to bear the cross,
and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory;
through the same Jesus Christ
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

In my church, New Zealand’s Anglican Church of Or, the formularies (binding agreements on doctrine and practice) allow for:
1) reading the Transfiguration story on the Sunday before Lent
Or not [The 2023 Lectionary booklet makes no mention of the allowed pre-Lent Transfiguration option]

Lectionary Booklet 2023

2) reading the Transfiguration story on Second Sunday of Lent
Or not
3) reading the Transfiguration story on The Transfiguration of the Beloved Son (August 6)
Or not
This means that, in the Anglican Church of Or, we have the ridiculous situation in NZ Anglicanism where the Transfiguration story can be celebrated once, twice, or three times a year. Or never!

With the majority of the Church, I stand (surprise!) with reading the Transfiguration story on this coming Sunday, the Second Sunday in Lent.

I am still wondering when the Transfiguration and the Second Sunday in Lent were connected. It seems that the BCP followed Sarum at this point in a separate tradition. I’d love more information if you have it. Best we have, so far, is that Leo the Great preached on the Transfiguration on the Saturday before the Second Sunday in Lent. That is an Ember Day. One person suggested that celebrating the Transfiguration on Lent’s Ember Saturday was earlier than the fixing of Lent 2’s reading, and that Lent 2 went on to repeat the Gospel (of the Transfiguration) from the previous day. The history of the Ember days is fascinating and disputed – and the Lent ones were the last to be added. Hence, we might notice, that Leo doesn’t allude to Ember fasting in the sermons this week. The discussion is here.

In any case, the sermon by Leo covers many of the important points about the Transfiguration. You can read it here.

The Transfiguration does seem to be an ideal story to set at this point as the Church journeys with the catechumens preparing for Easter baptism, and those of us already baptised deepening our baptismal transformation.

There is no Transfiguration collect that I am aware of that is shared across (say) Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. Again, if you are aware of such a shared collect, please let me know. So the above is a collect shared within Anglicanism – based on the first occurrence of a Transfiguration collect in BCP texts (1928). Here is my commentary for this collect for Lent 2.

1928 was the first Anglican Prayer Book to celebrate the Transfiguration. It included the collect which is the basis of collect above (there appearing to be no shared Roman Catholic/Anglican collect:

GOD, who before the Passion. of thine only-begotten Son didst reveal his glory upon the holy mount: Grant unto us thy servants, that in faith beholding the light of his countenance, we may be strengthened to bear the cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Resources off this site

Resourcing Preaching Down Under
Lectionary Greek

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3 thoughts on “Lent 2 5 March 2023”

  1. The Transfiguration was in the American Prayer Book of 1892. Consequently, the American Church retains its collect for the feast day on August 6th, essentially the same colic deal with for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany. This observation entered the American Church in 1979, one of a few instances where the Episcopal Church deviated from the 1969 l6ectionary for Mass. In turn, this adopted from the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal of 1958. Like Anglicans, Lutherans lacked a feast of the Transfiguration, but in the numerous revisions of lectionaries in Europe and the United States (where the various Synods were divided up according to the European country of origin) an observance of the Transfiguration was on the Sunday before Septuagesima.

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