St Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
161 N. Murphy Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086
The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration

May the transfiguring light of Christ be with you all as we celebrate this glorious feast!

By way of a sermon, I would like to quote for you a statement from a talk by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom regarding the Body and Matter in the Spiritual Life. I think it is a remarkable reflection which gets to the heart of what this feast of the Transfiguration is all about…

He writes: ‘A miracle is not something which is marvelous, although it appears so to us; a miracle is the normal relationship between God and his world, the supple, live, loving relationship there can be between what God has made, capable of knowing him, of hearing him, and himself. This, I believe, is true to biblical theology, this is also true to the teaching of the apostles, to the teaching and indeed to the life and experience of the Church. This experience is to be found described in the writings of a man like Simeon the New Theologian. Once he comes back from church; he has received communion; he sits on his couch and ponders. He looks around, he looks at himself and marvels. These hands, he says, so frail, so powerless, are the hands of God; this body, so mean, so old, this decaying body is the place of the divine presence; and this cell, so small, so ugly, is greater than the heavens, because it contains God. This is no allegory, is no fanciful thinking; it is direct, deep, concrete experience, rooted in all there is in the Old and the New Testament. All that is created by God is in God, related deeply to him, capable of sensing him, of knowing him. If we only could be aware of the potentialities of what God has created — I am not thinking now of what science is disclosing, of the extraordinary possibilities of the atom — I am speaking of something deeper than this, more intrinsic to matter even than its own natural capabilities. There is not an atom in this world, from the meanest speck of dust to the greatest star, which does not hold in its core, possess still in its depth, if I may put it that way, the thrill, the tremor of its first movement of existence, of its coming into being, of its possessing infinite possibilities and of entering into the divine realm, so that it knows God, rejoices in him. And if the world appears dark to us, compact, dense, opaque, it is because something tragic has happened, which we call the Fall, however we define it in its details, by which the sovereign freedom of obedience and harmony has been replaced by the iron rules and laws which reach to a certain depth and yet have not enslaved what God has made to be free.’

The transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ is miraculous and extraordinary to us because of the tragedy of our fallen state. This luminous, all-encompassing light of Grace is in fact the reality of the life of Christ and the potential of our life in Christ.

That illuminating Grace is given to us and fills us as we strive in synergy with Christ to bring forth spiritual fruit in our life. Those fruits of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. May God grant us such fruit and may His transfiguring light shine upon each and every one of us!

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