Transfiguration and Transformation

August 16, 2010 — 1 Comment

August 6 on the Christian calendar celebrates the Transfiguration of Christ recorded in the Gospels (e.g. Luke 9:28-36, with 2 Peter 1:16-18) The icon in the Eastern Church draws attention to “the uncreated light” of Christ.  An ancient hymn for the Feast summarizes the great significance for understanding Christ and his mission…

On the Mountain Thou wast Transfigured, O Christ God,
And Thy disciples beheld Thy glory as far as they could see it;
So that when they would behold Thee crucified,
They would understand that Thy suffering was voluntary,
And would proclaim to the world,
That Thou art truly the Radiance of the Father!

Not only did this event foretell Christ’s atoning death, it also looks forward to the restoration of all things. Many of the Church Fathers said that the coming again of Christ will mean the whole universe will be like the burning bush seen by Moses: “radiant with the fire of God’s holiness, but not consumed.” (David B. Hart in The Uncreated Light)

Christian Poet, Scott Cairns, writes on the Transfiguration with wonderful eloquence ending with his poem, As We See.  Here is the first stanza and  a link to the whole article.

As We See

The transfiguration of our Lord — that is, the radiance in which
he was bathed at the pinnacle of Mount Tabor — did not manifest
a change in Him, but a change in those who saw Him.
—Isaac the Least

Suppose the Holy One Whose Face We Seek
is not so much invisible as we
are ill equipped to apprehend His grave
proximity. Suppose our fixed attention
serves mostly to make evident the gap
dividing what is seen and what is here….


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