The Sunday next before Lent


Welcome to our Sunday written service this Sunday next before Lent. Today our service is led by Rev Dr Mattijs Ploeger. We also ave prayers from our intercessions team, readings and a carefully selected anthem and hymn. Today we enjoy another beautiful day of frozen landscapes.


Opening Prayer

Almighty Father,
whose Son was revealed in majesty
before he suffered death upon the cross:
give us grace to perceive his glory,
that we may be strengthened to suffer with him
and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen. 


The Readings

The Old Testament: 2 Kings 2: 1-12
The New Testament: 2 Corinthians 4: 3-6
The Gospel reading: Mark 9: 2-9

The Sermon

Every year, the Sunday next before Lent presents us with the gospel story of the Transfiguration. This year we read it from the gospel according to Mark (9,2-9). High up a mountain, in the presence of three of his disciples, Jesus is “metamorphosed” or “transfigured”. The first term is derived from the original Greek of the gospels, the second term is derived from Latin. Both words mean the same: a change of form. The earthly Jesus suddenly becomes dazzling white.

This story is open to two lines of interpretation. The first one is that Jesus’s appearance in (or even “as”) light is an indication of his divinity. The human person Jesus is at the same time the incarnation of God. Usually, the disciples only see his human form. But now they are given a glance of his divine form. This first interpretation is particularly relevant to the feast of the Transfiguration on 6 August, perhaps not so well-known to us (although it is in our service book), but an important feast in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The second interpretation is that Jesus is shown in his resurrected glory. The disciples get a glance of where their journey towards Jerusalem is going to end – not in death but in eternal life. In biblical texts (and in texts outside the Bible in the same period) white garments are nearly always an indication of eternal life. This second interpretation is obviously the reason why we hear this story at this particular Sunday. On this Sunday next before Ash Wednesday, this Sunday just before the beginning of Lent, we receive a powerful picture of where our forty days of Lent will be leading us: towards Easter.

The story of the Transfiguration is not only important because of what it teaches us about Jesus (that he is the incarnation of God, and that he is the Living One, the Resurrected One). The story is important also because it presents us with such a comforting and hopeful scene. For once, we do not only see what is “now”, but we are able to see what is “to come”. We may apply this to our own situation. Very tangibly in this covid pandemic, but actually also apart from that, our lives and the life of the world can seem hopeless, leading to death rather than to resurrection, having fallen out of God’s hands rather than manifesting divine glory. This story makes – nearly literally – “visible” to us, that divine glory and our resurrection still remain the goal of our lives and of the life of the world. Let us embark on our forty days towards Easter and remember where we are going: into God’s light and life, which he wants to share with us in Jesus Christ.

Fr Mattijs Ploeger

The Intercessions

Let us by prayer and intercession with thanksgiving
make our requests to God.

Gracious God,
we pray for peace, justice and reconciliation throughout the world.
We pray for the honouring of human rights,
and for the relief of the oppressed.
We give thanks for all that is gracious in the lives of men, women and children.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We pray for the renewal of the Church in faith, love and service.
We pray for David and Robert our bishops, Bishop Dirk, Mathijs, Robert, our visiting clergy and for the life of this chaplaincy.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We pray for all those mentioned in the Anglican
communion cycle of prayer
and in our Diocesan prayer diary*
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We pray for all those revealing the
light of Jesus in the world , that they
might be inspired by Cyril and Methodius –
9th century missionaries to the Slavs,
commemorated today – who devised a
new alphabet to bring your glory to new
peoples with liturgy in their own language.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We give thanks for the gift of your word,
the grace of the sacraments
and the fellowship of your people.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We pray for our local communities
and for all people in their daily life and work,
particularly at this time the work of all those
working tirelessly to help overcome our current
world pandemic.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We pray for the young and the elderly,
for families, and all who are alone.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We give thanks for technologies currently
put to human use to bring us together
while we are apart.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

Help us to reach out to others and to
seize the opportunities granted to us by
technology to unite, reassure, and embrace.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We give thanks for human skill and creativity
and all that reveals your loveliness.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We pray for those who are in need;
for the sick, sorrowful and bereaved.
We pray for all who bring comfort, care and healing.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We take a moment of silence to put before
You those at the forefront of our thoughts.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

We give thanks for human love and friendship
and for all that enriches our daily lives.
Lord in thy Mercy, hear our Prayers.

Let us commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.


*Today, in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, we pray for the bishops, clergy and laity of The Anglican Church of Canada, and their primate, Archbishop Linda Nicholls

In the Diocese of Europe’s prayer diary, , we are asked today to:
Pray for Bishop Robert and Bishop David with their constant travelling; for Frances Hiller (Bp David’s Chaplain), Ministry Team: Bishop David (as Warden of Readers), Director of Reader Ministry: Paul Wignall.
Pray for all those training to be Readers in the diocese; for Clare Amos (Director of Lay Discipleship). Pray and give thanks for the work of the Friends (Secretary: Jeanne French).


Anthem and Hymn

TheThe anthem for Sunday is: My eyes for beauty pine – Herbert Howells

The hymn is: NEH 408 – Love divine all loves excelling


The Blessing

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.