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Notes from the Sermon: Transfiguration Sunday

February 15th, 2021 | 3 min read

By Matthew Shedden

On Mondays I’ll be posting a quote I shared during the sermon or from the cutting room floor. I’ll post the scripture I referenced, and the connections may or may not be obvious.

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.– Matthew 17:1-3

In the icon of the Christ’s transfiguration upon Mount Tabor—as in the feast of light to Which it is liturgically attached—the entire “logic” Of Christian theology, devotion, worship, mysticism is uniquely concentrated, … As an object of contemplation, the Transfiguration image comprises within itself the whole story of creation, incarnation, and salvation in a particular way, with a fixed harmony of elements and with a singular intensity. It allows us, in one fixed instant of visionary clarity, to see and to reflect upon the entire mystery of the God-man and of the divinization of our humanity in Him. The icon also, however, offers us a glimpse of the eschatological horizon of salvation; for the same light that the three disciples were permitted to see break forth from the body of Christ will, in the fullness of time, enter into and transform all of creation, with that glory that the Son had with the Father before the world began , and that the whole of creation awaits with groans of longing and travail. Then to an image favored by a host of Orthodox spiritual writers, the entire universe will be like the burning bush seen by Moses: radiant with the fire of God’s holiness, but not consumed. And the Christian who prayerfully turns his gaze to the Transfiguration icon. and holds it there, should see himself taken up into the incarnate God, and refashioned after the ancient beauty of the divine image. — David Bentley Hart

Matthew Shedden

Matthew Shedden is pastor at Defiance Church in a small mountain town in Colorado. There he tries to reclaim the trivial by spending with his family, fly fishing the Roaring Fork, skiing, and cooking.