August 6: The Transfiguration of our Lord

A painting of Jesus on a mountaintop at night praying
“Jesus Goes Up Alone onto a Mountain to Pray” by James Tissot

Majesty revealed:

The feast of the Transfiguration recalls a well known New Testament narrative. Jesus, along with three of his disciples (Peter, James and John), went up to a mountain to pray. On that mountain God spoke, and Moses and Elijah appeared. It was a moment when heaven offered the disciples a glimpse of who Jesus truly was – and is.

I love the fact that the appointed reading from the epistle for the Transfiguration begins with these words:

“We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” (2 Peter 1:16-19)

Of course, we also read the Gospel account of the Transfiguration itself in Matthew. But I love the fact that we take the time to read Peter’s words. Peter wasn’t just reminiscing. He was recalling these events with a sense of urgency because he wanted his readers to understand the implication of something that was more than just a nice story. This was no “cunningly devised fable.” It was real.

And so we pray

The Collect for the Transfiguration is as follows:

O God,
who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses
thy well-beloved Son wonderfully transfigured:
Mercifully grant unto us such a vision of his divine majesty,
that we, being purified and strengthened by thy grace,
may be transformed into his likeness from glory to glory;
through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In praying these words, we acknowledge the truth of the Apostles’ testimony. We acknowledge Jesus’ majesty. And we ask that we might have such vision, such a confident faith (as we walk by faith and not by sight), that we ourselves might be transformed.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Amen. Alleluia.

Tissot’s watercolours of the life of Christ offer
a wonderful contemplative journey through eyes of faith.
“James Tissot: The Life of Christ” (Book)


August 6: The Transfiguration of our Lord
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