Reflection on the Feast of the Transfiguration

Canadian Orthodox Messenger

Reflection on the Feast of the Transfiguration

By Father Gregory Scratch

The feast of the Transfiguration (Mt. 17:1-9, Mk 9:2-12 Lk. 9:28-36) has always been a proclamation that assures humanity that Jesus Christ is truly the Lord shining with the glory of God: “light of light, true God of true God”, as we say in the creed.

This feast also assures us that although His divinity in essence is unknowable (and every other “un”- word we could ever think of), we can become witnesses of its radiance, or as the Fathers of the Church describe, His energies. In a manner, it is like being bathed in the rays of the sun on a beautiful day, yet being incapable of comprehending the magnitude, size and power of the sun itself.

What was experienced on that mountain by the three disciples was not some perceptible phenomenon akin to a sound and light extravaganza, nor was it a metaphorical demonstration for the mind alone, but rather a revelation of Jesus’ divinity. The same uncreated light by which Peter, James and John were overwhelmed is the same uncreated light that both Moses (Ex. 33:19-23) and Elijah (1 Kings/ 3 Kingdoms LXX 19: 11-12) bore witness to.

The difference is that the vision of the Lord and His glory that had inspired and enlivened (and most likely terrified) Moses and Elijah was granted as a promise and only to these two. But with Christ and in Christ through our baptism, we are all granted the possibility experiencing His divinity as was witnessed on Tabor, and more profoundly, we are all granted the possibility of bearing that divine light to a world in darkness.

We do this through faith, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, who guides us up to our own mount Tabor in the darkness of our brokenness, and sin.

And if we have faith that the light has come into the world, and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn. 1:5), we also proclaim that no matter what trials and tribulations we might endure, the same Jesus Christ who offers Himself on the cross for our sake, is the same Lord of Glory who shines brighter then the sun, and who shares all that He has with us, we might become through grace all that He is by nature.