When it’s dark outside, we flick a switch or look for a candle so that we can dispel the darkness in order to see. In a similar way, people on a spiritual path most often frame their journey as moving toward enlightenment. That process is not as simple as lighting a lamp or a flame and, although we need to be awake and participative, we are not “the doer.” It is our cooperation with Spirit, that spark of divinity in us, that needs to be activated in order for enlightenment to occur. Moreover, in most cases, it is a momentary experience, but one which changes our perspective such that our living is different – more conscious and loving – because we see more deeply than we did before.
Such was the experience of Peter, James and John one day when they accompanied Jesus up Mount Tabor to pray. It was an extraordinary experience. They saw Jesus transformed into a being of light as he communed with God and with Moses and Elijah. So my question this morning is: who was transformed? The feast celebrated today is called The Transfiguration, meaning “the change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state” (dictionary definition) which is attributed to Jesus as he prays. The vision shocked the men and was so powerfully transformative that Peter wanted to set up tents and stay there – a reasonable response to such an event. As is usually the case, the moment passed and they needed to return to their “ordinary life” but there is no doubt that they were changed and from then on knew a deeper calling to follow even while still not totally understanding all that was involved in their discipleship.
So it is, perhaps, with us. Some of us go through life moving as best we can toward the God in whom we have believed since childhood with nothing but that “still small voice” inside to guide us. Our transformation is organic and steady. Others have bursts of recognition that cause us to change our lives radically toward the good. The goal is the same. We are all called to transformation and the more we cooperate with that impulse, the closer we move toward becoming those beings of light who in time will illuminate the world with love.