Today is the feast of the Transfiguration, when Jesus ascends to a mountain top ‘and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.’ A voice from heaven thundered unto them that ‘this is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased’ and gave very strong directive to ‘listen to him!’ (Matthew 17:5). As any booming voice from the heavens might do, fear was struck into the hearts of Peter, James, and John, and they fell to their knees and prostrated before Jesus, to which Jesus gave reassurance that there was no need to be afraid.
Thinking of how Jesus’ body and clothing became a glowing white during the Transfiguration, I come to think of how we use light to describe people. Have you ever known people who just seem to radiate? When someone falls in love, do they not seem to glow?
I recently traveled to St. Louis to see my family and witnessed this sort of glow with my parents and their interaction with my nieces. The light that encompassed them as they made little Anna laugh and held her in the air while she uncontrollably giggled was almost blinding. When my sister held her in her arms and tried to see if she liked little bits of her homemade banana-walnut waffles, again, there was a shine about her. I cannot help but think of God being infinitely ‘well pleased’ with moments such as these and that there is something wonderful we should observe in these moments.
Reflecting on the Transfiguration, and Jesus exalted and shining, reminds me of such instances when people have this same glow to them. Anytime I see people possessing this shine, it is always in those instances in their life when they seem so comfortable within their own skin. They just float; full of a love within the vessel that is themselves. Seeing this glow and wondering why I feel (at times) that I am fiercely treading water makes me wonder if I missed a booming voice from heaven. What have I not “listened” to? Peter, James, and John might have been frightened to hear God’s voice, but I am more frightened with the prospect of not hearing God’s voice.
And what of the presence of Moses and Elijah during the Transfiguration? Two revered figures of Scripture — representing the law and the prophets respectively — might mean for us that Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. The past (law) meets with future (prophets) in the image that is Christ in the present. Christ’s presence most readily shines when we find ourselves in the eternal moment that is the present, when past and future are transfigured into complete presence and perfect love. Thus, we meet Christ in the present.
Today (and always) we are reminded to become transfigured as Christ is. So what is it within us that covers this entrapped light? What is it about people who have this glow that speaks to us, putting us at peace? What can we listen and learn from them? How can we uncover what it is within us that prevents the glow of Christ to radiate? If we can rise as Christ from our own darkness, become dazzling and white, I am certain we will bring a radiant joy that will assure those in our lives that there is no reason to be afraid.
Then again, you might consider banana-walnut waffles as a spiritual practice and a means of transfiguring yourself. It worked for Anna.