Transfiguration Sunday

By Logan Rodgers

Pietro Perugino, c. 1500

The last Sunday of Epiphany, or the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, is usually celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday in the Christian church. Jesus' early life, baptism, gathering of disciples, and first miracles culminate in this fantastic narrative of God's meeting on Mount Tabor.

All three synoptic gospels tell the story of the transfiguration of Jesus (Matt. 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9:28-36)—frequently a sign of the importance of an event from Jesus' life for the early Christian community. Also, it is referred to in Peter's second epistle – 2 Peter 1: 16-18

Jesus took his inner circle of apostles—Peter, James, and John—up a mountain, which in the Bible is a place of revelation, so it was clear something important was about to happen. The apostles saw Jesus as part of an important trio, including Moses and Elijah, symbols of Israelite tradition. As if that weren't spectacular enough, the voice of God itself appeared, uttering two thundering phrases: "This is my Son" and "Listen to Him."

Several aspects make this event significant:

  • The setting on the mountain is presented as the point where human nature meets God: the meeting place for the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus as the connecting point, acting as the bridge between heaven and earth.
  • It supports the identity of Jesus as the Son of God (as in his baptism), but the statement "listen to Him" identifies him as the messenger and mouthpiece of God.
  • It indicates to the apostles that Jesus is the voice of God. Instead of Moses or Elijah representing the Law and the prophets, he alone should be obeyed because of his divinity and filial relationship with God.
  • The transfiguration also echoes the teaching by Jesus that God is not "the God of the dead but of the living." Although Moses had died and Elijah had been taken up to heaven centuries before, they now live in the presence of the Son of God, implying that the same return to life applies to all who face death and have faith.

Raphael, c. 1520

How can we celebrate this event during our church year?

Transfiguration Hymns to consider:

From the New Century Hymnal – 182-184

From Lift Up Your Hearts – 130 and 131

From Hymns of Truth and Light – C8 and C9

From the Chalice Hymnal – 182

From Voices Together – 301 and 432

From Glory to God - 189-193

Transfiguration Anthems to consider:

Shine Jesus, Shine! – Graham Kendrick – various arrangements available

Transfiguration of Christ – Aaron Garber – Concordia Publishing House

Holy Ground – Ken Medema – Hope Publishing

Transfiguration Prayer – David DaSilva – World Library Publication

Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies – Mark Sirett – Augsburg Publishing

Who Is This Who Walks Among Us – Bob Moore – GIA Publishing

Jesus on the Mountain Peak – Brian Wren and Michael Burkhardt – MorningStar

See the Brilliant Glow Before Us – Diane Hannibal – Shawnee Press

Shine on Us – arr. Victoria Schwartz – Shawnee Press

Shine on Us, Lord Jesus – Lee Dengler – Shawnee Press

Carl Bloch, c. 1865

Prayers for Transfiguration:

Matthew 17:1-13

God of all power, I glorify and magnify your name because of who you are. We thank you for the divine confirmation of your Son while he was here on earth and became the radiant glory. Your Son became transfigured before His followers; His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light! Lord, your power was evident in this transfiguration; we thank you for being who you are. Amen.

Mark 9:2-9

Holy God, mighty and immortal, you are beyond our knowing, yet we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ, whose compassion illuminates the world. Transform us into the likeness of the love of Christ, who renewed our humanity so that we may share in his divinity, the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Luke 9:28-36

God of Light, your Son was a perfect example of how to live as Christians here on earth. Thank you for His life and purpose. Lord, while your Son was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. I thank you for this account of the manifestation of your power because this example of your power gives us hope as we, too, hold this power within us. Lord, continue to be with us. Amen.

Exodus 34:29

God of Righteousness, I give you all the glory due unto your name. Lord, I thank you for who you are - a God who does not let things remain the same in your divine presence. We see this with Moses as he came down from Mount Sinai, and his people were scared to come near him because his face shone after speaking with You. Lord, I pray that we become transfigured in Your presence. I pray that when people see us, they see you. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

2 Peter 1:16-18

Awesome Creator, I thank you for letting your people witness the transfiguration of your Son. They did not follow cunningly devised fables when they told the world the power and coming of you, but they were eyewitnesses of His Majesty. Your voice was heard when they were with Him on the holy mountain. Lord, I am grateful for your power that acted as proof for your followers so they could preach and teach the gospel. Amen.  ■

— Used by permission of the Reformed Worship Magazine –


United in Love

Composition by Andrey Stolyaroved 

You Are My Shepherd

By Gloria Fanchiang


"Upright cross with outwardly widening ends. It is often seen in relics from the late antique and early medieval Byzantine Empire (until c. 800) and was adopted by other Christian cultures of the time, such as the Franks and Goths."

— Wikipedia


The first 22 years of Worship, Music & Ministry in print.

Back to top

Worship, Music & Ministry is a publication of the United Church of Christ Musicians Association, Inc. and is issued three times a year. The journal is distributed to members of UCCMA as a benefit of membership.

All correspondence concerning membership in UCCMA, changes of address and other inquiries should be addressed to the United Church of Christ Musicians Association, P.O. Box 370631, West Hartford, CT  06137.

Information about the United Church of Christ Musicians Association is available at

Copyright © 2024 by the United Church of Christ Musicians Association, Inc.


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software