Beloved in Christ,
“People, come listen to me. Let us climb that mountain, holy and heavenly, and immaterially stand in the city of the living God. Let us noetically see the immaterial Divinity of the Father and the Spirit, shining forth in the Only-begotten Son.”
This month marks the end of one full year that we have been together.
One year ago Presvytera and I left what we knew, all of it and all the people within it. We saw before us mountains real, and mountains spiritual; and to be sure we were daunted by the journey before us. I was an assistant, and now am Proistamenos. We were childless, and now have a son. We were renters, and now have bought a house, and most importantly, Ogden has become our home and you, our family. At the end of just one year we have been utterly transformed. Glory to Jesus Christ who is working in and through each of us not only to transform, but to Transfigure!
I love that our years together will always be marked by the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. Like the hymn quoted above, it serves to remind us of what we are doing and why we are here. It gives us a mission.
Some of the Fathers of the Church explain the line of Genesis which describes the new clothing that Adam and Eve were given when they were exiled from paradise, “skins of animals”, as being the opposite of what they wore in the Garden as they walked with God - “clothing of light.” They were vested in God’s very glory, the brilliance of his light. The skins of animals - dead and dry, subject to decay - are such a poor substitute in comparison.
On the mountain, Jesus’s face shone like the sun, and his clothes became brilliant white. When we are baptized, we are marked with shining oil on our faces, and when we ascend from the font - like baby Jacob did just a few weeks ago - we are dressed in white. His life is ours. Our destiny is His. Through taking on our life and our death, and joining them to His resurrection, he’s given us our clothes again.
Let us be transformed into the humanity we are meant to be, and Transfigured into sacred members of the Body of Christ. Let us stand in His Kingdom always, that His radiance might leave a mark on us, and from us shine into the world we live in. Let us shed the material skins of animals, and take on our garments of Divine Light. Yes, Lord, let us see you - as much as we are able and as much as we can bear!
As we set out to summit another year together, I ask your forgiveness for all the times I have caused you pain or distress, and for the times when I have not loved you the way you need to be loved. It has been only one year. The Transfiguration of the Lord is accomplished, but our transformation and transfiguration is only begun. I thank you for allowing me to join you as we ascend this mountain together, traveling and laboring toward Christ’s glorious Kingdom.
Face down in the radiance of Christ which shone from the mountaintop, I remain,