06 August 2020

Transfiguration homily 2020

            Today is the Transfiguration of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. Today the veil is pulled back, and the eyes of the apostles are opened, that they and we may know who this is we deal with. Before his passion they see his glory revealed—glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth-- so they might know that Christ crucified is the Lord of glory.

            We call this day “Transfiguration,” in Greek metamorphosis, that we may know that nothing changed in Christ's nature, only in his outward appearance. He who for our sake took the form of a servant, here reveals his natural form and glory, to show us it is for us and for our salvation, that the Most High took on flesh; that he who knows no sin, was made in the likeness of sinful flesh to become an offering for our sin; that he who dwells in light unapproachable covers himself so that we may approach him.

            Today the point of the Scriptures is revealed. For Moses, who wrote in the Law, and Elijah, the chief of the Prophets, speak to Christ about his suffering; and three of the apostles bear witness to us. The Bible shows us Christ, teaches us Christ, leads us to Christ and him crucified and risen from the dead.

            Today the Holy Trinity is revealed. For the Son stands in uncreated light on the Holy Mountain, and the voice of the Father is heard from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him” and the Holy Spirit overshadows Moses, Elijah and the apostles in the shining cloud of his glory.

            Today our eternal life is revealed as entering the cloud of splendor and sharing the life of the holy, consubstantial and undivided Trinity. The disciples fear; the disciples grow drowsy; the disciples say silly things—but for all that, they share in the divine radiance and splendor and testify, “Lord, it is good to be here.”

            Today even the creation is redeemed and renewed. For a mountain made in ages past bears the feet of the Ancient of Days, and even his garments shine with the uncreated light. The redemption Christ delivers is not for men alone and by themselves, but also for the whole created order. The creation groans in labor till this day, and because of Adam’s sin it is subject to futility and death and decay; but here on Mount Tabor we see that its sufferings will be ended, and the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the seas.

            We need to hear this, and to know this, as we share in the lowliness and sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. We need to know that these sufferings won’t be forever, and that they have a reason, as Paul says: these “light and momentary afflictions are thoroughly working out for us an eternal weight of glory as we look, not to the things that are seen but to those that are unseen; for that which is seen is temporal, but that which is unseen is eternal.”

            Take some time, then, to tarry on the mountain today. Soon we must go back to the struggles and frustrations of our everyday life. But the time is coming, sooner than we think, when we shall say with David and with all the saints, “In thy light we see light”—the light of the glory and inexpressible goodness of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

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