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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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