Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration, the glorious vision of our salvation. On the mount of Transfiguration, on Mt. Tabor, the Lord revealed his divinity. But in doing so he also revealed the destiny of our own humanity when his own human nature was transfigured and shone brighter than any sun. He revealed to his Apostles the goal of our human nature: to be transfigured into his glorious image and likeness.
The nature of our salvation is not merely to be saved from hell, but rather to enter into “sonship.” The Good News is not about “sinners in the hands of an angry God” but as St. Paul wrote “. . . when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:11).
God in Christ invites us to enter into the “. . . the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ . . .” (Eph. 4:13). On Mt. Tabor the Lord revealed that fullness to his disciples. In Christ, we too will be transfigured. We will put off the body of corruption and we will be clothed in the incorruptible body of his light; an eternal weight of glory!
Today as always on this great feast, this eternal uncreated light has shone again on Mt. Tabor during the Divine Liturgy in the church built on the spot where Jesus was transfigured. Once again his disciples have beheld the glory of his uncreated light. Each year on this feast day, during the Liturgy, the divine cloud descends and covers the church and all those who are in attendance at the service. Within the cloud, people behold the divine light like so many camera flashes appearing around them. This is a miraculous occurrence every year that bears witness to the wonder of his transfiguration in our history and to the promise of our own future transformation into his image and likeness.
Sadly, just like the Holy Fire that appears at Christ’s tomb every year on Holy Saturday, most of the Christian world, having long ago separated been separated from the One Church, knows nothing about this contemporary miracle of the light and cloud on Mt. Tabor. Only the Orthodox Church knows and experiences these wonders. This should never lead us to a spirit of triumphalism but rather to one of repentance and humility for “to whom much is given is much required. . .” (Luke 12:48). It should lead us to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. . .” (Mt. 28:19,20), sharing the Good News of the healing of our humanity in Christ.
As we sing in the Great Doxology, Glory to God who has shown us the Light! – Fr.S.