Transfiguration is not just about us - all things created in Heaven and on Earth are being restored, reconciled, transformed into God’s dream for His world.
Desmond Tutu speaks of the Principle of Transfiguration. ‘Nothing, no one, and no situation is un-transfigurable.’ The whole of Creation waits expectantly for its transfiguration… when it will be translucent with divine glory.’
We are made to collaborate with Christ as He works to bring the ultimate transfiguration of the world. In those moments when our hearts are pierced - when God allows us to see more truly and deeply – it is then that we too are set on a journey of transformation.
Moments of transfiguration, if we are open to them can lead us to be agents of transformation on the ground – wherever that ground may be. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick or the imprisoned. Or standing before the powers of the world calling for change.
As we journey towards our final transfiguration we are involved in the transformation and redemption of our world. Peter wanted to build shelters for Moses, Elijah and Jesus in an attempt to keep holding onto the moment – but Jesus leads them back down the mountain – into a messy situation where a young boy needed healing. The gift of being part of the transfiguration and the glory of God was something the disciples needed to take with them. It was a gift that would enable them to work for the transformation of the pain and suffering they were going to experience around them each day.
Archbishop Tutu again: When we realize that we are working toward the ultimate transfiguration of the world, today’s suffering is put in its place, in its rightful perspective. And we can suffer it, knowing it does not have the final word. The pain is transformed, redeemed and now somehow serviceable.
Pain, if not transformed, will be transmitted to others. If we do not allow our pain, our suffering to be transformed, it will be spread out to others or, in the very least, to other parts of our own life. Un-transformed pain spreads – into genocide, xenophobia, rape, greed and abuse. But when our pain is transformed it contributes to the healing of the world. How we decide to respond to the pain & suffering is a very spiritual matter. The rape, abuse and death of a 17 year old child is a tragedy – and it is a tragedy that is happening every few minutes in our country and around the world.
It is a tragedy that cries out to be transformed – the pain of that young girl cries out for the people of this country and especially the men of this country to be transformed. There are no excuses and no acceptable reasons for what happened to her and it must not happen again.
The transfiguration that will enable this change must happen in all of us. It must begin in me. There is so much happening in the world, in our communities, that cannot be fixed - no amount of rushing around will solve all these problems.
However, they can be felt and suffered. As we have seen through our study of prayer we can indeed make space for this – we can feel and suffer the pain of the world with Christ.
The spirituality of transformation is a way of life that embraces suffering because it knows it is ultimately redemptive; and in stillness finds the resources to hold it until it is transfigured.
The suffering of the Cross leads to our redemption but only as we allow Jesus to be transformed into the Christ and our lives to be transformed into His likeness.
And so after spending time in worship – after spending time on the mountaintop enjoying the glory of Jesus in the Eucharist and the singing of our hearts – we leave this place to face the world outside – the un-transfigured world of our days.
We are offered this glimpse of God’s glory to strengthen us, to give us a vision for each day, to encourage us on our mission. We have a mission to share the joy and the beauty and the power of the transforming nature of God and the Holy Spirit of God. God’s Spirit burns with a light and a fire within our lives to transform us and the world around us – little by little.
Let us pray for the strength and the courage to receive the gift of transformation – so that we too may show our true nature to each other – we are beloved and chosen by God. Let us pray to be transformed daily into the likeness of Jesus.