Today in our church we’re celebrating the transfiguration of Jesus – that moment on the mountaintop when, witnessed by three of his disciples, Jesus shone with dazzling light. They saw him talking to two Old Testament prophets, Moses and Elijah – long-dead, but clearly alive spiritually.
Dear old Peter opens his gob and puts his foot in it, as usual. Hey Lord. This is really good! Let’s make three shelters – one for each of you …
Then a cloud of blazing glory envelops them and they hear a great voice say ‘this is my beloved Son. Listen to him!’
They’d been with Jesus for a while by now. They’d heard him preach and seen him heal the sick and feed the hungry. But he’d looked just like an ordinary guy.
This moment on the mountain showed them his true identity: that within his humanity, his eternal divinity was true and real.
Another of Malcolm Guite’s lovely sonnets, celebrating this event (from his book Sounding the Seasons)
On that one mountain where all moments meet,
The daily veil that covers the sublime
In darkling glass fell dazzled at his feet.
There were no angels full of eyes and wings
Just living glory full of truth and grace.
The Love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face
And to that light the light in us leaped up,
We felt it quicken somewhere deep within,
A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope
Trembled and tingled through the tender skin.
Nor can this this blackened sky, this darkened scar
Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.