Preached at Diocesan House on 5 August 2010 (transferred)
6 August 2010
In the Name of the True and Living God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
If we had the pleasure today of singing this service, I would have asked for Hymn 137, “O wondrous type! O vision fair,” sung to the tune warham. This hymn is as much a part of the normative content of The Feast of the Transfiguration as “O come, all ye faithful” is of Christmas, as “Jesus Christ is risen today” is of Easter, and as “All glory, laud, and honor” is of Palm Sunday. Try to get through those Feasts without those hymns, and you may discover a correspondent or two you didn’t know you had. They proclaim and underscore their Feasts so thoroughly that we simply don’t try to pretend that we can get along without them.
And so in “O wondrous type!” we sing in Stanza 3:With shining face and bright array,
Christ deigns to manifest today
what glory shall be theirs above
who joy in God with perfect love.
And the mystery of this great Feast is revealed. On the dusty mountaintop with his slow and sometimes sleepy disciples, Jesus in his full humanity and in his full divinity pulls the curtain back for a moment, letting the glory of his full divinity to shine through and to overcome his full humanity. The glory that is revealed is the promised hope of those who “joy in God with perfect love.”
For a moment, then, a brief moment, as the disciples make their way in their understanding of him and in his service, they begin to see and to enjoy the glory that is God’s and the glory they are called to share. The curtain opens, and Jesus allows himself to be seen and to be known at a level deeper than before and at a level deep enough to authenticate him and to give them hope for the journey that lies ahead.
Without too much shame, I consider myself a disciple of the Lord who wasn’t there on the mountain and who wasn’t there to see the miracle at the tomb. But the authentication of Jesus that I have known has come at those moments when events have been foul and when the light seemed dim, and most everyone in one way or another was asking the question “if not now, O Lord, when?” And as a disciple I waited for another moment, another beat of the divine baton, to give God the opportunity, the opening, to act. And more often than not something of that glory has shone and strengthened me to hope for yet another revelation and another consolation. Do not misunderstand. Sometimes the feared disaster occurred. But never was there any doubt about whose glory had been revealed and in whose service we find perfect freedom.And faithful hearts are raised on high
by this great vision’s mystery;
for which in joyful strains we raise
the voice of prayer, the hymn of praise.
 Hymn 137, Stanza 4.