Sunday, February 22, 2009


For many years, I have read about and understood the transfiguration to relate symbolically to a mountain-top experience. This view gave me something to strive for, and a goal to attain. It was almost as if my faith could be measured by the quality and quantity of mountains I climbed on my spiritual journey. The more I climbed, and the higher they were, the closer I could get to God. It was my own personal Tower of Babel, in spiritual mountain form.

Mountain-top experiences are no longer attractive to me, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps that sounds cynical, but I think that transfiguration ushering in the kingdom of God is far better. For one thing, it lasts longer, and touches more people. For another, a mountain-top experience by definition requires a long trudge through the valley, and an often difficult climb up to the summit. Once you have reached the peak, you stay for a short while to enjoy the view, but you generally head back down before it gets dark. The trip back down is somewhat anti-climactic. And honestly, that trek is a lot of work for only a little pay-off.

Transfiguration is different; it involves change. It is like a preview of glory, lived out in the here and now. The transfiguration of Jesus must have been truly spectacular. But then, whenever you are at the intersection of heaven and earth, the view is spectacular.

I have a theory that transfiguration can occur at any time, in any place, and in any one. If I keep my eyes open, maybe I will see one. Or, even better, if I keep my heart and soul open I can be invited to one, just like Peter, James, and John. Perhaps it might even be my own, if I remain open to it, and close enough to the intersection of heaven and earth. And realistically, that intersection is wherever I might happen to call upon the Lord, so it could be anywhere and at anytime.

Transfiguration is a beautiful way to close out the season of Epiphany -- it gives me hope. And just in time, because I will need that vision as I enter into 40 days of soul-searching. God has been revealed.

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