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The Apocalyptic Beauty of the Transfiguration


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I was a litIcon_of_transfiguration_(Spaso-Preobrazhensky_Monastery,_Yaroslavl)tle sad today. It was The Feast of the Transfiguration and I didn’t hear or preach any goods on this amazing narrative.

However, to say that I eat, sleep, and breath the transfiguration or at least I have for the better part of the past year wouldn’t be an overstatement. For my program at Nashotah House Theological Seminary I wrote a thesis, the title of my thesis was…

“The Apocalyptic Beauty of the Transfiguration: A Theological Interpretation”

I hope to share more of my thesis in the future but I thought, since it is The Feast of the Transfiguration, that I would share a little bit (cut and pasted) now.

The revelation given in the transfiguration is that of a transfigured reality; everything is caught up in the uncreated light. At that moment, all of creation participates in both the material and divine, the imminent and transcendent, in the already and not yet. This scene is one of apocalyptic beauty, which is to say it is an unmasking (apocalypse) of the transcendental attribute of beauty, as found in Jesus, correlating to his glory and reflected in his good creation. It is Jesus who participates perfectly in this transcendent moment on the mountain, and it is Jesus who shows that humanity is invited to participate. The apocalyptic slant and realized eschatology of the Scriptures are compelling attributes of the sacred text, tantalizing the imagination and deepening the mystery and wonder. The transfiguration is a profound example of this, showing us an apocalyptic narrative that reveals profound realities of Jesus, his divine trinitarian life, and his invitation for humanity to be transfigured and participate in his life and kingdom, both now and in the world to come.

One more bit from my conclusion…

True disciples let the light—the very beauty and glory of God—penetrate so deeply that it becomes their internal reality and transforms them into outposts of the kingdom. The apocalyptic beauty of the transfiguration reveals the divine presence, not something salvific in and of itself, but as a revelation to those who pray. This revelation is of an eternal reality, even if just beyond our sight. It is a revelation of a reality that we, as those whom Christ has died to redeem and who have been baptized into his covenant community, call our own. The transfiguration invites us to take up residence in
the kingdom, to participate in the divine nature, and be transformed into the Church—those who embrace and embody the always and already reality of the Kingdom of God as the very body of Christ for the life of the world.

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Today & St. Martin, Bishop of Tours


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tumblr_mdt8114ntB1rz3pvdIn morning prayer today the homily shared connected our lectionary passage and the story of St. Martin of Tours (read a bit more about it). The story was about him cutting of a piece of him military cape and giving it to a homeless beggar. He had a dream that night of a Jesus wearing half of his cape and awoke realizing what he should have done. Essentially to give everything to Jesus and to his neighbor!

It’s veterans day. I really appreciate the lectionary passage from Matthew 25:34-40 (the I was sick, I was in prison, I was a stranger, I was naked… and you took care of me passage). That connected to the commemoration of St. Marin of Tours, a military general who encountered Christ, gave his all to Jesus and became a force for peace and charity in the world, eventually being elected bishop. A great way to frame the day I do believe.

I’m seen by some as disrespectful of veterans and a poor excuse for an American or something like that. This is mainly because I hold to convictions of non-violence and am skeptical of political systems and violent means of progress. I rather seek to pledge my allegiance to God and God’s kingdom, making Jesus my King and his teachings my rule of life and the constitution of my home.

But with all sincerity, I don’t want to be disrespectful to veterans and those who have served and sacrificed for this country and other countries. As a friend and mentor once said to my wife and I, “honor what is honorable.” I want to do that. So thank you women and men who have served and sacrificed. I’m sorry you had to do that, I long for the coming of God’s kingdom, where all will be new and there will be no tears or separation, strife or death. Rather, there will be shalom—everything in it’s right place and in right relationship with all people and things. I struggle with language that gives credit for my wellbeing, safety and freedom to anyone other then my God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So I long for this, for the veteran and for the farmer, for those who might be called enemy and for those who I call friends… I long for all of creation to be at peace because of the knowledge of Jesus, sacrificed for all, for the redemption of sin and the hope of life everlasting. I pray come Lord Jesus, come. Come this day and in all days, until you come one day to make all things new.

My response is to try and live into the already of God’s kingdom rather then excepting the not yet of it. This is not without its faults because of my failure and lack of faith but don’t mistake it for non-action. Despite the sinful sloth I all to often sit in my prayer is that the video of freedom and peace we find in the scripture would lead me, would lead the church to radical action. I pray I and we would have the imagination for this Jesus kinda of action.

I pray God will give me the vision and the courage to live and a disciple of Jesus, acting for peace and reconciliation, for justice and truth, for unity and charity… all with the example of Jesus, the one I follow before me!

Just some thoughts.

12232839_972607742778353_1999867474744436856_oOur Collect for the day…

Lord God of hosts, you clothed your servant Martin the soldier with the spirit of sacrifice, and set him as a bishop in your Church to be a defender of the catholic faith: Give us grace to follow in his holy steps, that at the last we may be found clothed with righteousness in the dwellings of peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

PS: to my friend who my raise an eyebrow at the “Pray for us” line. Just look at it like you’re asking a brother or friend to pray for you. The idea is that all are alive in Christ, a communion of saints or a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) you might say. Alexander Schmemann explain this best for me, I can’t remember ware, maybe in his book Great Lent: Journey into Pascha book or For the Life of the World… can’t remember but he’s awesome and helped me to be a little less squeamish when it come to this aspect of the faith that has long been practiced.

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Learning to Prayer


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My time at Nashotah House has begun!

This week is orientation. All week, all the time! It’s a lot, but there is a lot that goes on at this place. Most notably, every day starts with morning prayer at 8 am, then bells ring at 12:30 pm for mid-day prayer, and then we gather again for evening prayer at 4:30 pm.

Everything revolves around this rhythm of prayer. Our life, our community and our learning all are rooted and sustained by this practice of prayer.

If nothing else is formative at Nashotah House, I know beyond a doubt this will be (even though I am quite sure many other things will be as well).

I thought I would share a prayer all the students and faculty pray every day at evening prayer.

11891237_10153607230635956_4106079202307804684_nA Prayer for Nashotah House

Bless, O Lord, this House, set apart to the glory of your great name and the benefit of your Holy Church; and grant that your Name may be worshipped here in truth and purity to all generations. Give your grace and wisdom to all the authorities, that they may exercise holy discipline, and be themselves patterns of holiness, simplicity, and self-denial.

Bless all who may be trained here; take from them all pride, vanity, and self-conceit, and give them true humility and self-abasement.
Enlighten their minds, subdue their wills, purify their hearts, and so penetrate them with your Spirit and fill them with your love, that they may go forth animated with earnest zeal for your glory; and may your ever living Word so dwell within their hearts, that they may speak with that resistless energy of love which shall melt the hearts of sinners to the love of you.

Open, O Lord, the hearts and hands of your people, that they may be ready to give and glad to distribute to our necessities. Bless the founders and benefactors of this House, and recompense them with the riches of your everlasting kingdom,
for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Know that Andrea and I are also praying for you—our friends and supporters. This will be a challenging chapter of our story, but one we are excited about because we know it will shape and mold our family for the ministry God has before us. And we know we have a great team of friends who are praying for us and supporting us every step of the way! Thank you!
Grace and peace
Erik

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