The Transfiguration of Christ and our calling of Transformation

This coming Thursday marks the Transfiguration of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church.

 The Transfiguration of Christ

According to the Church’s teaching, the Lord had gone with His disciples Peter, James and John to Mount Tabor. He was transformed before them into a glorious, radiant figure. This affirmed to His disciples the divine nature of Christ; that He truly is ‘of one essence with the Father.’ At this life changing moment the disciples witnessed their Lord and Saviour, Who was voluntarily sacrificed and crucified on the cross for all of humankind, ‘dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach…And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses…’ (Mark 9:2-9)

The Transfiguration of Christ, particularly according to Saint Gregory Palamas, is at the epicentre of our understanding of the Orthodox Christian faith and life. Saint Gregory maintains that we are called, just as was the case with His disciples on Mount Tabor, to see the uncreated light and energies of God. For Saint Gregory, we as human beings have this ability to know God in His energies, through obtaining a prayerful, communal and loving relationship with Him. Through the Transfiguration, flooding humankind with His uncreated, radiant and eternal light, He not only reveals Himself to us, but importantly invites us to be transformed by His grace and love. This transformation is, for us, a life process. We, as young Christians, are called to be a reflection of this transfiguring light of Christ, through our life choices, our example, and our loving presence in the lives of others.

Let this coming Thursday, the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord, be a reminder to all of us that we are called to see light in darkness, to see God’s joy and love around us and in each human being,  fundamentally turning to God, the ‘Light of the world’ (Jn 8:12) in prayer and praise.  St Gregory comforts us with his homily on this week’s feast: ‘The Light of the Transfiguration of the Lord is not something that comes to be and then vanishes…but the mystery of the Lord passes beyond mere flesh into spirit through a transformation of our senses, effectualised within us by the Spirit.’ Thus this eternal, transforming light of Christ never fades and is to be seen by all. It remains for us to open our spiritual eyes of worship, of humility and of holiness, in our struggle and thirst for God to unite and remain with us forever.

Hymn of the Week:

You were transfigured on the Mount, Christ God revealing Your glory to Your disciples, insofar as they could comprehend. Illuminate us sinners also with Your everlasting light, through the intercessions of the Theotokos. Giver of light, glory to You.