Feast of the Transfiguration

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Head of a Young Apostle by Raphael

For the Feast of the Transfiguration we recommend the sketch “Head of a Young Apostle” by Raphael.

At the time of the year when the sun rides high in the sky, its brightness shining well into the evening, the church celebrates Jesus, the unconquerable Son.

This is the Feast of the Transfiguration, a day kept in memory of Jesus bringing his friends and disciples, Peter, James and John up to a mountaintop.  (You can read the gospel accounts in Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36.)

The gospel writers tell us that Jesus was praying on the mountain.  As he prayed, Matthew says, “his shone like the sun and his clothes became dazzling white.” As Jesus face changed, two men — Moses and Elijah — appeared and were seen talking with him.

It must have been beautiful, for Peter tried to persuade Jesus to let them stay on the mountain.  Peter volunteers to build a dwelling for each of them if only he and James and John can remain in the presence of this light.

Brightness upon brightness, for, Matthew says, “suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them.”  Then the disciples heard a voice from the cloud saying, “”This is my Son, the beloved; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

It must have been beautiful, for Peter tried to persuade Jesus to let them stay on the mountain.

This was more light than the men could bear.  They fell terrified to the ground, and did not rise until Jesus touched them and told them to get up and not to fear.  When they stood up, Moses and Elijah were gone and the voice was silent.

Imagine Peter, James and John as they went out into the world after Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Did they keep this memory as a light against the darkness, a fire against the cold of persecution?

Spend some time today and reflect on times when God has seemed very near to you, times when you have glimpsed the light of Christ, shining like the summer sun.  Get outside and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin.  Marvel at its heat, its size and its power.  Then consider that God is the Word who spoke the sun into being and who reigns over it and all that is.

– Melissa Musick