Most Rev. Dianne Sullivan
The event of the the Transfiguration is found in all three gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is an extraordinary event. Jesus allowed Peter, John and James to have the privilege of accompanying him up the mountain; some say Mount Tabor, south of Galilee; others say Mount Hermon north of Caesarea Philippi where he had been ministering.
Some scholars have said this spiritual experience was meant to strengthen the faith of the disciples for the challenges they would later endure. Perhaps it was meant to strengthen Jesus as well for what was to come. Here Jesus is in the company of Moses who represents the Law and Jesus the fulfillment of the law; and Elijah the prophet as was Jesus.
It was a gracious gesture on the part of Jesus to bring his inner circle of disciples. But it was only a temporary event. It was not meant to be permanent.
In the same way, at certain times in our life, God may give us a special experience of grace that strengthens our faith, lifts us and transforms us.
And so often just like Peter, we too would like to pitch our tent in that place of grace and stay forever, and just listen, mamela. Or to forever contemplate this vision. But like Peter we are told that it is not possible, not yet.
“Transfigured.” The Greek term is well-known in English; from metamorphoo (pronounced meta-mor-phaw-o) we get our word “metamorphasis.” The word describes the complete change of the form and substance. For example, we use it to describe the change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Here then we have a complete change in the appearance or form of Jesus in the presence of the disciples. He now was brighter than the light, revealing His true glory to them.
In our first reading there is a transformation that takes place in what appears to be a vision, a vision of people of the earth coming together through love. It is the face of love that changes us. Hope can lift us. Justice issues can mobilize us. Grief can crack open our hearts. But only love can truly change us. And love has many faces.
Dr. Larry Michaelis, 73 and his daughter Dr. Laura Michaelis 47 are in a conversation with one another.
Laura says of her father, “ I learned a lot more about you by becoming a physician. By walking in your footsteps I have learned how much you have loved your patients and how much you care. You have given a lot and I know it has hurt.”
Laura’s father Dr. Larry says, “We are many generations of healers with heart. It’s in your blood to care. “
There’s the story of Angelo and Eddie sanitation workers who took pride in their work. They used work as a way not only clean up their city but to watch over their neighborhoods, clean up relationships, give of themselves, keep watch over their people. They saw their work as a way to make way for life to go on in their streets, for things to happen. Their pride for their work contained love of order, love of relationships, love of helping others,
love of beauty.
Some years ago…”You are my treasure.”
There is something that runs quite deep in us all that enables us to be “transformed” by love, by grace by the power of a word, a vision, or an event.
Our hope is that each week you too are renewed and transformed. And even if there is nothing of this service you remember that is fine. What touches you and causes you to love more deeply or quickly is most important.
If your humanity is lifted or if you feel yourself to be softer and more open then the transfiguration has graced you. Perhaps you too will hear God say, “You are my beloved and I am well pleased with you.”
And if you desire to pitch your tent in this place, we