For those churches that use the Revised Common Lectionary, the Sundays of Fairtrade Fortnight in 2022 use the readings for Transfiguration Sunday and the 1st Sunday in Lent (Year C)
Here are some suggestions for reflection and preaching on those readings. The suggestions for the 1st Sunday in Lent are reproduced from the Fairtrade Foundation’s Church Action Guide in 2010 and were written by Elizabeth Perry. They are no longer available online – hence we have placed them on this page, rather than linking to them.
Transfiguration Sunday (last before Lent)
Moses brings the ten commandments down from Mount Sinai – and his encounter with God is reflected in the shining of his face.
‘Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Extol the LORD our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!’
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
The hope we have in Christ transforms us; through Christ we are able to see God; and by the Spirit we are transformed
Luke 9:28-36, (37-43a)
Jesus is revealed as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and the one to whom God commands us to listen. After this revelation, he shows his power through a miracle of healing.
Points to ponder
In the Transfiguration, Jesus is revealed as the one who is both truly God and truly man – the Son of God, the Chosen. The revelation is a sudden one: like Moses, Jesus has gone up the mountain to commune with God, and as he prays, his appearance in transformed, and he, Moses and Elijah talk ‘in glory’.
God’s holiness, as the psalmist reminds us, is truly awesome – that is, it inspires awe and wonder. It is so awesome that after the Fall, direct encounters with God in the Hebrew Scriptures are rare: they are simply too overwhelming for all but a very few. Even indirect contact can be overwhelming: Moses, is so transformed by his encounter with God that people are afraid to come near him.
But Christ, the Emmanuel – God with us, makes the presence of God accessible. While he remains the awesome figure of the mountaintop, he is also the teacher, friend and companion of the disciples along the way. And he shows them – and us – what a human life united with God, reflecting God’s love, should look like.
And, says Paul, his gift to us is the hope of transformation. As we turn to the Lord, we see God and we receive the Spirit of freedom. This Spirit works to transform us into the same image, the image of God’s glory. It’s not something to be afraid of, but to be longed for. And the transformation doesn’t separate us from the world, but helps us to bear the image of God’s love into it, as Christ did.
Where do you see evidence of the Spirit’s transformation?
For us, the existence of Fair Trade is a sign of such transformation. People around the world are united in care for each other and for God’s creation. People who are buying goods make conscious choices based on love of their neighbour, a love which springs from God. In very simple, ordinary ways, they are bringing the image of Christ’s love into the world.
1st Sunday of Lent
Deuteronomy 26: 1-11
‘The Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.’ The Israelites are instructed to remember their past, tell the story of their journey, and acknowledge their continued dependence on God.
Psalm 91: 1-2, 9-16
Trust in the Lord to deliver and protect.
Romans 10:8b – 13
Confessing Jesus as Lord with our mouths and hearts
Jesus rejects personal satisfaction, power, and spectacle (and the misappropriation of Scripture) for the worship and service of God – and then goes on to proclaim that his concern is for the poor and oppressed.
Points to ponder
We too need to remember our story and past. Part of our past is the appalling history of many tropical commodities such as sugar – a story that involves exploitation and slavery.
But we also need to tell the stories of people who have stood up for justice – to remember how people of faith have helped release people from oppression down the centuries and across the continents, helping abolish the trans-Atlantic slave trade and apartheid. And we need to tell today’s good news story that is Fairtrade and rejoice in the way Fairtrade is transforming history.
Jesus lived a radically different way of identification with the poor and marginalised. One small way in which we can follow Jesus in our daily lives is to swap to using goods that have been fairly traded. These bring good news to the poor and do not compromise us in oppression. This is also a practical way of confessing Jesus as Lord with both our mouths and our hearts.
So as part of your Lenten seeking after righteousness, why not do something positive by swapping to the Fairtrade alternative?