Pastor's Note  

Aug 5

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." When they heard this divine declaration, Peter, James, and John fell on the ground, trembling in fear. The gleaming vision of Jesus miraculously transfigured before them, and the appearance of the two prophets who had been dead for ages, didn't knock them over. Rather, the clear voice of God that followed this apparition struck fear into their hearts. The first part of the heavenly announcement certainly confirmed what they had just seen – the unveiled glory of Jesus' divinity. But these words included another element, a command from on high: "Listen to him." Perhaps part of the fear that shook these men was the solemn realization that Christ's divinity demands something more than simply our respect. It demands our active attention and response.

Knowing that Jesus is God is only part one. We are also called to follow him, by heeding his teachings and imitating his example. Each year in our journey of faith we are invited to examine just how well we are "listening" to Christ. We are asked to uncover the areas where we are deaf to his word, or at least where we are pretending not to hear it. To this end, we take up various exercises of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in an effort to heighten our awareness. First and foremost, in prayer we literally pause to listen. We do our best to quiet ourselves and ask God to speak to us in the depths of our hearts. By fasting, we learn to silence the demands of those physical cravings that too often take first priority in our lives. And through the practice of giving alms, we train ourselves to hear the voice of "the least of these," in whom Christ himself is present. In this coming week, may we respond wholeheartedly to God's command to listen to his Son. May the disciplines of our lives become much more than obligations to fulfill – may they truly become those active encounters wherein we heed the voice of our loving God!