Saturday, August 6, 2016

Transfigurations, Ancient and Modern

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.

Through the years, I've seen many a documentary about the rush to build nuclear weapons, about the uncertainty of what would happen with those first tests and explosions--would the very atmosphere around the planet dissolve?

But I've lived long enough to see history being made to know that the choices can be fairly ghastly.  In this case, far better to develop the weapons before the Germans. 

I've also done enough reading and thinking about pacifist approaches to wonder if there might not have been another way if we had acted much earlier.

The Feast of the Transfiguration reminds us to be mindful.  We don't always recognize the Divine in our midst--do we need Jesus transfigured before we truly see?

Today is a good day to think about what distractions, atomic, cosmic, or otherwise, take our attention away from God. Today is a good day to think about mountaintop experiences and how we navigate our lives when we're not on the mountaintop.  Today is also a good day to meditate on power and how we seek to harness it and how we use power once we have it.

Today is also a great day to celebrate the transfiguring power of God.  After all, not all uses of power lead to destructive explosions.  Some times, we find redemption.

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