MONDAY THE SIXTH OF AUGUST, 2018
* The Transfiguration of the Lord *
Almighty God, before the passion of your son, you revealed his glory upon the holy mountain. Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross. Indeed, O Lord, give us the vision to see beyond the turmoil of our world and to behold our saviour in all his glory. Amen.
( William Loader )
O love of Jesus, sweet and dear, when to the heart you do appear,
away its clouds and darkness roll and sweetness overflows the soul.
How happy those who feel your light, you who share the Father’s might,
true radiance of our native land, surpassing all we understand.
The brightness of the Father’s throne, goodness that never can be known,
the fullness of your love impart by your true presence in the heart.
All glory, Lord, to you we pay, transfigured on the mount to-day;
all glory, as is ever meet, to Father and to Paraclete.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
The Transfiguration of our Lord: light of one kind and another
Today Saint Laika’s remembers the Transfiguration of Our Lord, an event recorded in the synoptic gospels. Jesus, in the presence of Peter, James and John, was transformed into dazzling brightness. Moses and Elijah came to be with him and the voice of God was heard in the brightness and cloud which surrounded them. It was a foretaste of Jesus’ resurrected glory, the consummation of God’s planned salvation of the earth. Moses and Elijah represented the law and the prophets of the old covenant, who were thus testifying to the truth of Jesus claim, that he must suffer, die and, on the third day, be raised.
The feast day has ancient roots in Eastern Christianity, where it is considered to be one of the twelve great feasts of Orthodoxy. In the West, it was only established as a feast, to be celebrated on the sixth of August, in 1457. Many churches also celebrate the Transfiguration on the Sunday before Lent, thus placing the feast day before people at the very time the Gospels tell us Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem and began to prepare his disciples for his own suffering and death.
On the sixth of August, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, in an effort to affect Japan’s surrender near the end of the Second World War. This was followed by another bomb dropped on the city of Nagasaki, Japan on the ninth of August. Ever since that day, we have had to contemplate the fact that mortals now possess the ability to destroy ourselves and our planet. The blinding light of the atomic blast is ironically linked to the blinding light of Jesus’ transfiguration by today’s date. God transfigures, mortals disfigure. Conservative estimates put the death count at one hundred and fifty thousand people, half of them dying at the moment of the bombing and the rest dying of radiation burns and sickness within the next two months.
Let the beauty of the feast and the horror of the historical event sit with you today. Perhaps the best prayer we can make in the face of both is “Kyrie Eleison!”
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received honour and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.
… for peace in the world.
… that we may be changed by our love for Jesus Christ and all creation into people worthy of being citizens of the kingdom of God.
… for the people of Jamaica and Bolivia who celebrate their national day today.
… for those who were killed or injured and for those who lost their homes when the Indonesian island of Lombok was hit by a powerful earthquake yesterday. DETAILS
… for the human rights activists who have been detained by the Saudi Arabian authorities recently for criticising the government of the country; that the leaders of the nations will have the integrity to condemn such abuses no matter what the economic cost may be. DETAILS
… for those whose livelihood is threatened by droughts in Australia and elsewhere in the world. DETAILS
… for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
… for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
… for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
… for ourselves.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From a sermon on the Transfiguration by Kallistos Ware:
The Transfiguration is par excellence the feast of Christ’s divine glory. Like Theophany (January the sixth), it is a feast of light.
During Matins the exapostilarion for the day states: “Today on Tabor in the manifestation of your light, O Word, you who are the unaltered light from the light of the unbegotten Father, we have seen the Father as light and the Spirit as light, guiding with light the whole creation.”
Nor is this the only parallel between the two feasts. Like Theophany, although less explicitly, the Transfiguration is a revelation of the Holy Trinity. On Tabor, as at the baptism in Jordan, the Father speaks from heaven, testifying to the divine sonship of Christ; and the Spirit is also present, on this occasion not in the likeness of a dove, but under the form of dazzling light, surrounding Christ’s person and overshadowing the whole mountain. This dazzling light is the light of the Spirit.
The Transfiguration then is a feast of divine glory; more specifically of the glory of the Resurrection. The ascent of Mount Tabor came at a critical point in our Lord’s ministry, just as he was setting out upon his last journey to Jerusalem, which he knew was to end in humiliation and death. To strengthen his disciples for the trials that lay ahead he chose this particular moment to reveal to them something of his eternal splendour, “as far as they were able to bear it” (Troparion of the Feast). He encouraged them, and all of us, to look beyond the suffering of the Cross to the glory of the Resurrection.
The light of the Transfiguration, however, foreshadows not only Christ’s own resurrection on the third day but equally the resurrection glory of the righteous (ones) at his second coming. The glory which shone from Jesus on Tabor is a glory in which all humankind is called to share. On Mount Tabor, we see Christ’s human nature, the human substance which he took from us, filled with splendour, “made godlike” or “deified.” What has happened to human nature in Christ can happen also to the humanity of Christ’s followers. The Transfiguration then, reveals to us the full potentiality of our human nature: it shows us the glory which human nature once possessed and the glory which, by God’s grace, it will again recover at the last day.
This is a cardinal aspect of the present feast, to which the liturgical texts frequently revert. For example, it is said at Great Vespers that at his Transfiguration the Lord, “in his own person showed them the nature of man, arrayed in the original beauty of the image.” Similarly, at Matins one hears, “You was transfigured upon Mount Tabor, showing the exchange mortal people will make with your glory at your second and fearful coming, O Saviour.”
The feast of the Transfiguration, therefore, is not simply the commemoration of a past event in the life of Christ. Possessing also an “eschatological” dimension, it is turned towards the future, towards the “splendour of the resurrection” at the last day, towards the “beauty of the divine kingdom” which all Christians hope eventually to enjoy.
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; Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
CLICK HERE, then click on “Begin” and follow the instructions on each page.