Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Transfiguration [August 6]

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration. The Gospel recounts Christ being transfigured before Peter, James, and John. Appearing with Christ our Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and Prophets of Israel. Christ is said to have shone like the sun. Our Gospel today is from Luke in the Episcopal Daily Office, but in the parallel passage in Matthew 17.2 we read: "And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light," which is much more descriptive.

According to the 13th century Eastern theologian, Gregory Palamas, the Light that shone around Christ were God's divine energies, divinity itself. In the Transfiguration, we behold the Divinity of Christ, and our own call as human beings to become divinized by Grace.

The early Church Fathers said that Christ became a human being so that human beings might become God. We are reminded of Christ's uniqueness as the Son of God, but also, our own destiny to become sons and daughters of God as well.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature..."

- 2 Peter 1.3-4 RSV
The Collect.
O GOD, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty, who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Epistle. 2 St. Peter i. 13.
I THINK it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
The Gospel. St. Luke ix. 28.
AND it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
 
 

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