Though the Feast of the Transfiguration technically falls on August 6, it seems to be more often observed these days on the last Sunday of the Epiphany season, before the beginning of Lent of Ash Wednesday. Apparently it was the Lutheran church which may have first moved this observance from August.
The story of Jesus' transfiguration is told in three of the Gospels. This morning we heard the version from Luke 9:28-36. The disciples recognize this great wonder as another revelation of Jesus' divine nature, as in the other Epiphany narratives. As usual, they are so taken with the spectacle that their first impulse is to try to preserve the moment. They don't quite understand how it relates to their new mission.
The Unitarian Frederick Lucian Hosmer takes the wonder of the story and brings it down the mountain into our daily lives.
Not always on the mount may we
Rapt in the heav’nly vision be:
The shores of thought and feeling know
The Spirit’s tidal ebb and flow.
“Lord, it is good abiding here,”
We cry, the heav’nly presence near:
The vision vanishes, our eyes
Are lifted into vacant skies.
Yet hath one such exalted hour
Upon the soul redeeming power,
And in that strength, through all our days,
We travel our appointed ways,
Till all this earthly vale grows bright,
Transfigured in remembered light,
And in untiring souls we bear
The freshness of the upper air.
The mount for vision: but below
The paths of daily duty go,
And nobler life therein shall own
The pattern on the mountain shown.
Frederick Lucian Hosmer, 1882; alt.
Tune: GERMANY (L.M.)
from William Gardiner's Sacred Melodies, 1815
Two Years Ago: Triple-Header