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Feast of the Transfiguration (One-Year Series)
In The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Transfiguration is observed on the last Sunday of Epiphany. In the One-Year Lectionary, Transfiguration is on Jan. 21, 2024, and is followed by three Sundays of preparation and instruction from Jesus before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
On this day, the church recalls the event of Christ’s Transfiguration on the mountain, revealing His divine nature to Peter, James and John before He set His face toward Jerusalem, where He would accomplish the world’s salvation by His death and resurrection for us.
Where Transfiguration is the last service before Septuagesima (which means about 70 days before Easter), many congregations say farewell to the word “Alleluia.” As Judah would not sing their songs in the land of exile (Psalm 137), so the church sets aside our simplest word of joy and praise — until we take it up again in triumph on Easter: “Alleluia! Christ is risen; He is risen indeed, Alleluia!”
To attend a worship service, visit locator.lcms.org/church to find a local Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod congregation. Enter your zip code and click “Search” to see a list of area churches, service times, and contact information.
If you are homebound, traveling, or otherwise unable to attend a service in person, KFUO Radio airs worship services throughout the church year. Visit KFUO.org to view the schedule and listen to services.
Liturgical color for Transfiguration
White, the color of light, purity and completeness, adorns the altar to commemorate the Transfiguration of Our Lord. On the mountain, Christ’s face and clothes shone white as light (Matt. 17:2). In His light we see light and by Him, “though our sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” Christ’s incarnation and His resurrection, His Gospel and its message to all nations are cause for our rejoicing. His purity before His Father becomes our purity. White reinforces this message of joy.
White is also the appointed color for the Epiphany (Jan. 6) and the first Sunday following it, which is often observed as the Baptism of Our Lord. It is also the color of Easter. On high festive days when white is appointed, some congregations also use gold.
Scripture readings for Transfiguration
- Exodus 34:29–35 or Exodus 3:1–14
- 2 Peter 1:16–21
- Matt. 17:1-9
Jesus Is Transfigured and Manifests His Glory
The Lord appeared to Moses in the light of the burning bush (Ex. 3:1–14). Later Moses’ face would shine with the light of God’s glory when he came down from Mount Sinai (Ex. 34:29–35). At the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared with the One who is the Light of Light Himself (Matt. 17:1–9). Jesus’ glory as God shines with brilliant splendor in and through His human nature. By this epiphany, our Lord confirmed the prophetic word (2 Peter 1:16–21), revealing that He is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. He manifested His majesty as the eternal Son of the Father, and He wonderfully foreshowed our adoption as sons (Collect). We who have been baptized into Christ’s body are given a glimpse of the glory that we will share with Him in the resurrection on the Last Day.