On Monday (6 August) the Church celebrates the Festival of the Transfiguration.
The story of the transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ is told in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and Peter refers to it in his second letter. Each time, it is made clear that God’s salvation is for all and Christ is the one who brings that salvation.
The testimony of the law and the prophets to Jesus are given by the mysterious presence of Moses and Elijah. The event of the transfiguration, of Jesus on a mountain being shown in dazzling light, is also a foretaste of the joy of his resurrection, coming as it does just before he embarks on his painful journey towards the cross.
The transfiguration is a promise to all who love Jesus. It is a coincidence which has always struck me as significant that August 6 is the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord as well as the anniversary of the explosion of the first thermo-nuclear device in anger over Hiroshima today 50 years ago. The transfiguration is difficult enough to make sense of, but this difficulty is put into perspective by the events of August 6 1945 in Japan.
And yet there may be a connection. The transfiguration of Jesus immediately prior to his having to embark on the inevitable and cruel path towards his passion and crucifixion was a preview, granted to his closest friends, and through the pages of the gospels granted to us. It was a preview of his resurrection glory.
The utter desolation and sense of failure of the whole human race played out and represented in our Lord’s passion was not gone through without us having been granted a glimpse of what may one day be possible through God’s redemptive power. The explosions in Japan are part of the human misery represented in Christ’s passion, but we are allowed to look forward to and to glimpse that God has salvation in store for us.
5 August 2018