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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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Feast of the Transfiguration


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Today was the feast of the transfiguration. I wanted to write and post this earlier but I didn’t get to it. So here’s goes.

The the transfiguration is an amazing event in the gospels and is worth pondering anytime. It’s definitely one of my favorite stories, I find it absolutely fascinating.

This is my favorite icon of the transfiguration. I like it so much I have it with me always! Just ask to see my arm!

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware says, “It [ the transfiguration ] reveals to us the highest potential of our created nature, our ultimate vocation as human beings.” Very much in line with Fr. Roberts Barron’s caption to the above icon from Word On Fire Ministries, “[ the transfiguration is ] a preview of our own destiny!”

I love it! I think they are right on! The transfiguration is an event where the curtain is pulled back and we see how things are, how they fully are in the realm we call the kingdom of heaven. We see this same thing in the life of Jesus but it’s during the transfiguration that we see a scene where everyone is wrapped up and living into the reality of God’s kingdom, the living and the dead.

When Jesus says in the Gospel of Mark, “the kingdom of heaven is near.” That word near is often translation “at hand” because the kingdom has come so close in the person of Jesus that we see and experience this heaven, this realm where God rules and reigns as we see and experience Jesus. In the transfiguration the curtain is pulled back to ware these two realms, the kingdom of heaven and this present age collide or overlap or intersect. Hmmm… it’s kinda hard to explain it. I always think of the TV show Fringe. Yea, it’s kinda like that!

Either way, welcome to the story!

Fr. Andreas Andreopoulos in his book “This is my Beloved Son: The Transfiguration of Christ” helps us to see that this is an event that keeps happening. We keep seeing the kingdom break into our world and into our lives. We live with this reality in mind, we participate in it’s in-breaking from time to time and we pray for it to happen often and finally.

“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is the prayer Jesus taught us to pray and it’s a prayer for his people to live lives shaped by the transfiguration and participating in the transfiguration story – transfiguration reality. We pray for God to act and answer this prayer and we open our lives for God to use us to be answers to this prayer. This is transfiguration kinds of stuff — kinds of prayer!

Bishop Todd Hunter gave a stellar message on the transfiguration. Here’s a link ::
Todd Hunter | The Transfiguration: Unseen Reality.
Go listen to it ASAP. He nails it! Here’s a quote from the message, “There is always this glorious reality that sits behind the seen world that is always and already there.” #TRUE, this is the reality we see and experience in the transfiguration.

I could go on and on here. It’s absolutely fascinating and if we’ll let it, this is a story that really can shape our lives here and now as we follow Jesus and live as he calls us to live.

Pray-As-You-Go is a great prayer resource. They provide little 10-12 minute audio meditations for folks to listen to as they go about their day. Today’s meditation was on the Matthew passage (17:1-8) on the transfiguration. Here’s a link if you’d like to pray a bit with the transfiguration in mind.

 Pray-As-You-Go | The Feast of the Transfiguration

I’ll probably write about this more in the future but for now, I hope you can have some thoughtful, prayerful moments guided by this story we’re given and this challenge we all have to live with the reality that the kingdom of heaven is near, always it’s near!

One last icon. This is a picture I took when I was at the Getty in LA.

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Some New Art / A Tattoo


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I’ve been slow on draw sharing this. There’s been a few reasons but i guess it’s time!

I got a new tattoo!

I’ve been sitting on this idea for probably 2 years, waiting for the right time and the right artist to do it. Making sure i really wanted it, like wanted it for life! I have commitment issues 😉 but after much thought, maybe even a little prayer and lots of dialing in the idea i decided to go for it!

So here it is…

At least the start of it! This is really just the outline plus a little. Probably a little over 4 hours left to go. And then some to finish up the quarter sleeve i’m hoping this becomes!

So far, so good! I love it! It’s a pretty expensive process so its going extremely slow, lots of little chucks. This first big chunk happened cause i spoke at a camp this summer, made some extra cash and after negotiating with my wife she approved! We were also in Chicago for a wedding and some vacation time which worked perfectly because my tattoo artist is in Chicago.

So i reconnected with an old college acquaintance, i would say friend but we were never tight but friends. He was always a mischievous soul but kind and as cool as they get. He only went to my small Christian college for a couple years before he left for a more suitable environment! His name is David Allen and he’s an amazing tattoo artist. We reconnected via instagram, twitter and facebook and when i was finally ready for the new tat he agreed to do it! He works at Pioneer Tattoo Studio, a pretty amazing place with some phenomenal tattoo artist.

Let me tell you some more about that art.
(I’ll post some images below.)

The primary image on my shoulder is an icon of the transfiguration. A story and an image that has really captivated my imagination. There are so many layers to it that i know it wold be something i would love for a lifetime. More explanation will have to come at a later time, LOTS to say there. Then the stained glass window on my chest if from the south transept of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. It’s a widow that depicts that new testament. So it connected with my other tattoo. It tells a beautiful story and moves from structure to mystery in a symphonic way as it connects to the transfiguration and rest of the art i plan on putting on my arm.

That’s the short story.

My spiritual director and i sat down and prayed through the these images. Asking God to reveal the reason and significance of me being drawn to these specific images. It was a great exercise in discernment and trust, trust in the Spirit of God that dwells within and is apart of all we do and think we, at least when we’re open.

So there ya go! Hope you like it. I do!!!

 

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