Originally preached at Bloomington Inclusive Mass on August 10, 2014.
2 Peter 1:16-19 (The Message)
Luke 9:28-36 (The Message)
A Spiritual Reading by Marianne Williamson, that can be found here.
In the name of God, the Source of All Light, Life and Goodness…
Today we have gathered together to celebrate the Feast of The Transfiguration. The ideas of light, transfiguration and transformation are weaved throughout the Christian faith and may other universal religions. The biblical narrative of creation, found in Genesis and cherished by Jews and Christians alike and to a lesser degree Muslims, attempts to explain the appearance of the universe with a simple phrase: “Let there be light.” We are told light then came into existence at God’s own beckoning. Our modern scientific understanding of the universe, most often explained in the terminology of the Big Bang, had led us to discover a cosmic radiation that is deemed to be the oldest light in the universe. Our very existence, whether we turn to biblical or scientific resources shares the belief that our evolution, began with the appearance or manifestation of light. Regardless of our race, gender or sexuality we all hold the beauty and life-giving properties of light to be our common ancestry and reason for our continued existence. In the beginning was light and that light is still with us today.
Today’s Gospel reading shared with us the Christian understanding of Divine Light as manifested in the person of Jesus. We read of Jesus going off once again to pray on his own apart from the distractions of the crowd and the many needs placed on him. It is worth noticing that throughout the Gospels, Jesus required periods of thoughtful breathing, meditation and conversation with the Creator. Jesus did not operate in some magical way that superseded his very human needs for quietness, solitude and rest. Some of us could do well to remember - if Jesus needed to take “time outs,” we probably do too! So we see Jesus praying on a mountain, with his disciples a little ways off from him, and suddenly we are told an amazing event occurs. Two men, who had long since left this world, appeared on each side of him in a cloud of light, a bubble of brightness or what some might call an aura. Eventually, the sleepy disciples were awakened by the splendor of this sight and became very excited and very chatty, very quickly!
I think we can understand their excitement. Many of us speak of the splendor of God but rarely do we get to experience it in such otherworldly ways directly impacting our physical senses. The Gospel says Peter wouldn’t shut up and he started planning a construction site complete with real estate development in order to try and capture the light of the moment. It seems to me, Peter did not understand that this moment wasn’t meant to be captured - it was meant to be experienced. Jesus never uttered a word, according to the account given to us, and suddenly the mystical light, the aura, surrounds Peter and the other disciples, as well. A voice from within the holy light declares, “This is my chosen child, listen to him!” Needless to say Peter shut up and the disciples were left speechless!