Monday, August 6, 2012

Yearning for Transfiguration

Today, Orthodox churches celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration, the day when Jesus went up the mountain with several disciples and becomes transfigured into a radiant being. Those of you who worship in Protestant churches may have celebrated this event just before Lent began, so you may not think of it as a summer kind of celebration. Pre-Reformation traditions often celebrated this day in conjunction with blessing the first harvest.

Those of us with any sense of history are likely also remembering today as the day when the first atomic bomb used in warfare was detonated at Hiroshima, thus launching us into this brave new world where we find ourselves.

I find it an interesting conjunction, and of course, I've written a poem about it. But since it hasn't been published, I hesitate to put the whole thing here; I'll put some of my favorite bits here. It begins with these 2 lines:

"We long to be transfigured in the Holy Flame,
to harness atoms to do our will."

and later in the poem:

"Like Peter, we long to harness Holiness,
to build booths, to charge admission.
Christ turned into Carnival."

And of course, with a story like that of the Transfiguration, I can't help but think about my own life. How would I like to be transfigured? Some days, the question is really, in what ways wouldn't I like to be transfigured?

But that question is really too me-focused, as the readings for today show us. The question is really how do each of us respond to the Transfigured Lord?

Today is a good time to spend with the texts for the day, to carve out some time for quiet contemplation. Go here for readings, complete with links, so that you can read online, if that's easier.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for noting this conjunction of calendars. I am haunted by the connection it makes between the thousands who were instantly immolated on this date and the transfigured Christ. An apt occasion for poetry, indeed. Thanks, too, for sharing some of your poem. I hope to read it in its entirety some day.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott said...

Thanks so much for your response!