The Holy Transfiguration: a true glimpse of God’s glory
“Thou wast transfigured on the mountain O Christ God; showing to Thy Disciples Thy glory as each one could endure; shine forth Thou on us, who are sinners all, Thy light ever unending. Through the prayers of the Theotokos, Light-bestower glory to Thee”
In the beautiful hymnody and iconography of the sacred Church, the Feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration is portrayed and demystified for us. The sacred art captures the essentials of this event, as relayed in the Gospels.
In the iconography the Lord is also flanked on both sides by the pinnacle of the Old Testament Prophets, Moses and Elias, thus proving that He is both the God of the Old and New Testaments. How great it must have been to behold such an awesome wonder.
In the Gospels we read of that most awesome manifestation of God’s glory. This is but a mere glimpse! So many things happen during this event, which links both the Old and the New Testaments! So much is revealed to mankind! The dismissal hymn helps us to recognize the utter fright and bewilderment of the three Disciples when the Lord’s countenance changed. Like we cannot stare at the sun without physical harm, so these Disciples could not bear to see the Lord’s glory. This is just a small drop in a great ocean, as it were for man cannot behold the Lord in all of His glory. The Lord confirmed this to Moses. Scripture describes the special relationship Moses shared with the Lord, it was if they spoke face-to-face. But no man can see the Lord’s face (cf Exodus 33:20). How much more then would it be impossible for man to behold God in His glory.
Moses must have rejoiced in the spirit when he beheld the Lord on Tabor, thus fulfilling his earthly desires to see the Lord’s face. Beloved, how blessed are we that can know our Lord. How blessed are we that we can call upon Him, that we can know Him by name. The unknowable God has revealed Himself to us!
This is the great significance of this sacred feast, for “God is the Lord and has appeared unto us”! It is good for us to chant this from the depths of our hearts. Lord, like the Disciples let us also cry out, “it is good for us to be here”.