When moments of intensity cause periods of growth and change in our lives we like to say our identity is transformed. But as I read the text for the week, Exodus 34:29-35 and Luke 9:29-36 I wonder if this is the right word to be used when talking about our experience with God, and how God impacts our life? In the language of the church these passages, are refereed to as moments of transfiguration, and as we prepare for Transfiguration Sunday, I wonder if we ever think of our selves as being transfigured by God’s presence, rather than transformed?
Transfiguration denotes a specific kind of transformation that comes with intimate contact with God. Moses face was “shining”. It shined so much so that he had to put a veil on because it scared the Israelite. And only in the presence of God did he take the veil off. Why is that? Was God’s presence in Moses, his beautiful glow, so overwhelming that they thought him grotesque and deformed and it was only in God’s presence that he could be authentically himself, authentically “shining” with God’s goodness and joy?
Saint Paul had something to say about this in 2 Corinthians 3:4-18. To summarize the best I can – because of Christ’s action for us, because we have hope we can act with great boldness, and we do not need to fear putting a veil over our face, to keep others from seeing the glory of God, for in the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Moses had to put a veil over his face because the intensity of looking at the glory of God, hardened the Israelite hearts, but in Jesus the veil is removed as we are free to see the glory of God at work and rejoice, to praise, to sing hallelujah.
Think about that, no more fear to live the identity of “child of God”. No more fear, keeping us from lifting up God, in action, word, and deed. No more fear of being authentically ourselves and letting our joy for life beam radiantly forth from us. We do not need to wear a veil. We do not need to cover ourselves up. We do not need to hide what it is God has done for us, because we have freedom that come with Jesus the Christ, who died so we might live. Freedom that come from the Holy Spirit being active in our lives. No more fear because we are being transfigured, not just transformed, by the intimate work of God in our lives.
These are the thought I share with you today as we prepare for Transfiguration Sunday. Do not be afraid to let the radiant glow of God shine forth from you, because in that glow you are being the light of Christ to the world. And remember you may be the only contact with God, another person has ever had. Live as Christ loves. Let your transfiguration show.