Transfiguration Sunday is one of the great bursts of light of the church year. It is always full of wonder and joy. We read the story of the miraculous vision that the disciples had on the mountaintop where they saw Jesus as a being of light and we sing some of our favorite hymns. We will have all that usual delight this Sunday–we will sing Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise and In the Bulb There Is a Flower, and Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee, and we will read one of the most beautiful Psalms, #139, that affirms that even the darkness is as light with God, and we will hear the Transfiguration Story in Luke (9:28-43a).
What makes this year even more joyous is the transfiguration that is taking place in our church. Take a few minutes next time you are in the vestry to look closely at the changes taking place. Start in the corner just to the right inside the door, and see the “Growing in Love!” bulletin boards with photographs of our church family and the beloved words of our Covenant, Identity and Aspiration Statement and Communication Guidelines. Then step in a little farther and see the new Board of Mission and Social Action bulletin boards about helping Syrian refugees (and sign up to help!). Then walk across to the children’s corner to see the changes that have transfigured it and transformed our children’s experience of it.
This Sunday is always a glorious last burst of light before entering the dark wilderness of Lent. This year the light is brighter and the hope for the coming resurrection of new life on the other side of the wilderness is stronger because of all that is happening in our congregation.
The choir will contribute to the celebration with a Transfiguration introit from the New Century Hymnal set to a historic English tune from 1415, The Agincourt Song, as well as the anthem, “Panis Angelicus,” by Cesar Franck.
Two of this church’s greatest assets are its organ, proclaimed recently as the best in the Upper Valley by a guest musician, and our organist, John Atwood, who makes that organ sound magnificent. John has picked three joyous pieces for Sunday, a Fugue and a Toccata by Johann Pachelbel, and “Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist” by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Bach’s music is full of genius and playfulness, but it is also full of emotional passion and spiritual power. No one has translated the Christian message or spiritual life into music as Bach has. His music is well worth studying and listening to intently and repeatedly so that it speaks to our head, heart, soul and senses. Here are three youtube versions of the piece John will play on Sunday. The first will show you the finger and footwork he will be doing behind the screen.