The Transfiguration is one of the major feast days in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. We don’t do so much with it in the churches of the west, I suppose because we like things that are rational and definable. The Transfiguration, with it vision of Jesus’ altered appearance and the visit of two long dead heroes of the faith, is a mystery in both meaning and application to our lives. Click here to read Luke’s telling.
If you feel like you’ve heard the story recently, we read of the Transfiguration at the end of the season of Epiphany (between Christmas and Lent). However, we normally only celebration the actual Feast day (August 6) when it happens to fall on a Sunday, as it does this year.
So, what are we to make of the Transfiguration? Ultimately, it is a mystery, which is why our Eastern brothers and sisters are so fascinated with it. What does it tell us about Jesus that He is revealed in this way, at this time and with these others? We get some hints, but never a complete understanding.
It seems that there is far more to Jesus than can be seen in His human appearance. The experience of even getting a hint was beyond what the Peter, James and John could understand.
But we get a point in the direction in the visit of Moses and Elijah. When we recall that Moses was the great law giver and Elijah the quintessential prophet. So, the law and the prophets point to Jesus. All that God has done among the people of Israel points to this moment. For the disciples, even though they didn’t understand it at the moment, they saw beyond all doubt that Jesus is the fulcrum of God’s work.
So, if anything, the Transfiguration tells us that Jesus is the focal point of God’s work among us and if we are to make sense of this life, we do so through the lens of Jesus. What will it take for you to view your life through the lens of faith in Christ rather than the lens of your own wants?
This column appeared in the St. John’s Weekly eNews for August 6, 2017. Click here for the complete issue. Click here to get the eNews in your inbox every Thursday afternoon.