What the Church Celebrates in the Feast of the Transfiguration

TRANSFIGURATION.JPGNow about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli’jah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli’jah” –not knowing what he said. As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. Luke 9:28-36

The scriptures say in Genesis that we were all created in the image and likeness of God. That’s Good News but we know in our heart of hearts that something has happened to this image and likeness creation. We have fallen from this Godly design. We retain the image of God – we can say that the image is a given. It is the stamp on us as humans, a stamp that we cannot undo. The image is a given but the scripture also says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are no longer like Him. Because this part has changed we say we are disfigured – we are not like God, the way we were intended. This can be seen in that we do not do the things we should do but rather we do the very things we do not want to do. We are disfigured.

“The Jewish Festival of Booths was a feast of the dwelling of God with men, and the transfiguration of Christ reveals how this dwelling takes place in and through the Messiah, the Son of God in human flesh. There is little doubt that Christ’s transfiguration took place at the time of the Festival of Booths, and that the celebration of the event in the Christian Church became the New Testament fulfillment of the Old Testament feast in a way similar to the feasts of Passover and Pentecost.

In the Transfiguration, the apostles see the glory of the Kingdom of God present in majesty in the person of Christ They see that in him, indeed, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” that “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 1:19, 2:9). They see this before the crucifixion so that in the resurrection they might know whom it is who has suffered for them, and what it is that this one, who is God, has prepared for those who love him. This is what the Church celebrates in the feast of the Transfiguration.”[1]


[1] Hopko, Fr. Tom. Rainbow Series.

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Filed under Scripture Rumination, Sundays, Feast Days, Other Days, Transfiguration

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