Transfiguration

A reflection on change

Disciples who dare to ascend that mountain
do not come down unscathed.
This procession of pilgrims, the church on the way,
transfigured, slowly, surely,
by that ineffable, indescribable light,
so bright it burns their eyes, like staring into the sun.
From then on, every person they see
bears the subtle silhouette of the Savior.

Christ leads us up the mountains of our daily lives
to witness his glory once again
—too often shrouded
by clouds of despair, poverty, pettiness,
competition, division, discord—
and we shield our eyes and turn away.
Too long we’ve expected
transformation to happen at the altar alone,
yet not in ourselves.

But every once in a while, despite our fog,
the Spirit breaks through,
and we glimpse what Merton saw
on the corner of Fourth and Walnut.
If only we would realize that we are all
walking around shining like the sun,
then would we see the gate of heaven everywhere.

Lord, it is good to be here on this mountaintop,
where your glory is so clearly manifest
in song and silence, in music and movement;
in power of words and strength in numbers,
and in prophecy of youth and dreams of elders.
But save us, Lord, from the complacency
of staying here to merely build booths
instead of letting you build us
into the tent in which your glory dwells.

For you did not create us to place our hopes
on what is transitory—
on words or ways of worship,
on what I like and on what I feel like doing.
You fashioned us to follow you
down the mountain of Calvary,
down into the depths of human joys and griefs
to name and proclaim the radiant grace
shining on those whom we do not always recognize
as you,
to announce that here, indeed,
is God’s beloved.

Come then, let us act fearlessly, eyes wide open to mystery.
Come, let us be ready to see Christ revealed
in enemies transformed into partners, in stranger become friend,
where empty buckets overflow, clouded eyes are cleared,
and lifeless hearts beat once again.
Transfiguration is everywhere, waiting for you to enter in,
that you may become what you were created to be.
So let go, hold on, and trust, for Christ alone is our hope
in whose image we are being transformed
from glory into glory, glory into glory.

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