On Being Transfigured
And while Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. – Luke 9:29
This coming Sunday, August 6, is the Feast of the Transfiguration, the time when Jesus' appearance changes and he meets with Moses and Elijah. It's also when a cloud overshadowed those three along with the disciples, and they heard a voice say, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
This story has a parallel in Exodus 34 when Moses, also on a mountain, experiences a transfiguration in which his face shines so intently that he has to cover it when around people.
The question we should always ask ourselves when reading/studying Scripture is this: How does this passage or story affect me/us today? With the story of the Transfiguration just a few days away, how does this story (or these stories, if you're looking at both the gospel and the reading from Exodus) of Jesus and/or Moses being changed to such an extent that they radiate brilliance affect me today?
Looking at it with that question in mind might lead us to understand that the story isn't necessarily about Moses and Jesus being transfigured before our eyes, but that the story is about how an encounter with God changes a person. And not just a physical change, because I have seen people who have had a close encounter with God and seem to have a certain glow about them. That glow, though, if you read the full stories, is short-lived.
How would an encounter with God change us? How does our encounters with God – daily prayer, Sunday worship, etc. – change us?
We encounter God at least on a weekly basis. Are we allowing ourselves to be transfigured in such a way that people can recognize we have had an encounter with God?
May you see your time with God not as something normal and expected, but as something amazing that overshadows you and changes you in such a way that others notice you have been touched by the presence of God.