Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Proper of the Day: Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord

Today the church continues to observe a celebration first begun in the East in the 4th century, and spreading into the West and made a general observance in the 1400s. On this feast we commemorate the glipmpse of heavenly glory given to Peter, James, and John, and confirmed by both the Law and the Prophets, and finally by the Voice of God, that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of God, in all his Incarnational splendor. The irony of this is that we will hear Jesus predict his own torture and death not once, but on three seperate occasions, so that the Transfiguration itself becomes almost comic, especially since Peter himself ends up denying Jesus at the Cross.

There are times, I think, when we need to see Jesus in his splendor, and not only in his humility; in his glory, and not only in his pain. I think the Transfiguration gives as that assurance, that no matter what our spiritual or mental of physical conditions are, Jesus is Jesus and is with us. God's command is all, ultimately, that we need: "This is my beloved Son; listen to him!" Listening to Jesus in his life and teaching as well as his death and resurrection is what leads us to the Light of the World. This phyiscal world is awful at times, perhaps for some of us a lot of the time. (I am mindful of the other event that so much of the world commemorates on this day.) Getting a foretaste of what awaits us is not a bad thing at all.

The proper Introit for today is a portion of Psalm 27: "You speak in my heart and see 'Seek my face.' You face, Lord, will I seek." Here's a setting of Psalm 27 by John Rutter:

O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


No comments: