Monday, August 6, 2007

Feast of the Transfiguration

Today, August 6, is the Feast of the Transfiguration. In my Sunday School class at Lake Murray, we examined Raphael's painting above when we studied the passage in Matthew. I took a copy of the painting wih me today to the special service at Alpine Anglican, the last Anglican service I'll be able to attend until September 7 when Father Acker will be back from vacation. So I couldn't miss the service, even on a Monday morning.

Here's the Collect for today's feast day:

O God, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty, who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Gospel Reading for The Transfiguration, from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which starts from St. Luke ix. 28:

And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias [Elijah]: who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

Part of the reason I love celebrating the Church Year is that I find myself much more focused on the life of Christ and walking with Him more concretely than I would otherwise. Having special days on which to celebrate the Annunciation, the Transfiguration, the Ascension, and other "minor" events in the life of Jesus (besides the biggies of His birth, His crucifixion, His Resurrection) makes me much more Scripturally aware and more prayerful. And celebrating these Scriptural events reminds me more fully that Jesus, while being fully God, is also fully Man, and He walked this earth two thousand years ago: talking, healing, praying, traveling, touching those around Him with His love and compassion, challenging the religious leaders of the time with their legalism and negativity.

Celebrating the Church Calendar is amazing -- to walk alongside Christ as He ministered and taught, as He walked and lived His earthly Life -- has transformed me heart-deep. Words escape me in expressing how following the Calendar of the Church has changed my faith life, but I can say this: my faith feels more real, more alive, more personal, more tangible, since I started experiencing the Christian Year. And for that, I thank and praise the Lord my Saviour.

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