TRANSFIGURed & DISFIGURed
Updated: Aug 8, 2020
TRANSFIGURATION-TIDE 2020 - some thoughts from Fr. KEN LEECH, revolutionary Anglo-Catholic Christian socialist (1939 - 2015) spiritual writer and spiritual director, social activist.
August 6th marked both The Feast of The Transfiguration and the
anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima (1945).
"There is an Episcopal Church in New York City called the Church of the Transfiguration, but it is better-known locally as “the little church around the corner”, a title which is even printed on the notice board.
The Church of the Transfiguration ‘around the corner’ witnesses to the truth that transfiguration, the dazzling light of the glory of God, can occur anywhere. We sense that glory in the midst of the common and the ordinary, as Francis Thompson said ‘between heaven and Charing Cross’. Bishop an Ramsey was always saying that there are moments “when the penny drops – a cosmic disclosure situation.” It usually happens in ordinary places, often in unexpected places and at unexpected times.
In Orthodox Churches
there are almost always three icons present in the smallest churches
the Baptism of Christ,
and the Resurrection.
In this tradition, the stress is on both the glory of God and the glory of humanity as central, while sin is viewed as, literally, accidental to human nature.
At Mount Tabor it was the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ which was revealed and, by implication, the potential glory of human beings made in God’s image. At Hiroshima it was the human potential for destruction, cruelty, incalculable violence, which was revealed. Each event told us a story about our potential for good and for evil. the mushroom- cloud of Hiroshima was a kind of demonic anti-type to the cloud of transfiguration.
The hope of glory does not lie in a return to a lost paradisal innocence, but in a movement towards the Kingdom of God, which is only manifested through the encounter with evil, injustice and frailty.
Transfiguration can and does occur “just around the corner”,
occurs in the midst of perplexity, imperfection and disastrous misunderstanding." - Ken Leech
Christ, our only true light,
before whose bright cloud
your friends fell to the ground;
we bow before your cross
that we may remember in our bodies
the dead who fell like shadows;
and that we may refuse to be prostrated before the false brightness of any other light, looking to your power alone for hope of resurrection from the dead.
O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining, and whose power we cannot comprehend: show us your glory as far as we can grasp it, and shield us from knowing more than we can bear until we may look upon you without fear, through Jesus Christ.
Father in heaven,
whose Son Jesus Christ was wonderfully transfigured
before chosen witnesses
upon the holy mountain,
and spoke of the exodus he would accomplish at Jerusalem:
give us strength so to hear his voice and bear our cross
that in the world to come
we may see him as he is;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Collect - New Zealand