To Be Transfigured

Passages: Wis. 7:25-8:4; Zech. 14:16-21; 1 John 1:1-7; Matt. 16:13-17:13
Ընթերցուածքներ՝ Իմաստ. Է 25-Ը 4; Զաք. ԺԴ 16-21; Ա Յով. Ա 1-7; Մատ. ԺԶ 13- ԺԷ 13

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What does this mean? It means in essence that each one of us has a different taste or we each have a different idea of what is beautiful. For some roses are beautiful, for others lilies; for some nature is beautiful, for others the architecture of a city. For a parent, no one is as beautiful as their child; for a husband, no woman is as beautiful as his wife. Beauty is different for each one of us. Not only is beauty different but the description of beauty is also different. Some would say a beautiful flower is one that is fully blooming, for someone else the newly budding flower is beautiful because it has so much potential. And though we all have different descriptions and ideas of what is beautiful – there is one thing we can all agree on, beauty is good. In fact, beauty and beautiful is always understood as good because we use it when we describe something positive and virtuous. “This person has a beautiful approach to life,” or “it’s beautiful to see so many smiling faces.” And when someone is negative or something is bad we say the “they have an ugly outlook on life” or “the ugly truth.” Beauty is good!

In the book of Wisdom of Solomon, Solomon describes wisdom by saying that wisdom is beautiful like God. Solomon uses different adjectives, descriptions to say who God is. “God is love, is beauty, is Mercy, is Peace, is Wisdom.” But he does not say God is all these things as if God possesses them and can change later on. But rather, that God is love, God is mercy, God is peace, God is wisdom and God is beauty. God is good. God is not God can be, because God does not change the way we would change. So love, mercy, peace, wisdom – all positive attributes – all that is good is a reflection of God. God’s beauty. God cannot not be any one of these things. As Christians, we understand of course that when Solomon is describing wisdom and saying that wisdom is God, he is directly speaking about Christ. Christ is the Wisdom of the Father, Christ is the reflection of light meaning that observable beauty of God. Christ is the revelation of God.

Today is the feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Jesus was transfigured and shining bright like light, “he shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.” In Armenian, this feast is known as Baydsaragerbutyun – which roughly translates to “to appear brightly.” It is also known as Vartavar. Some of our Church Father’s say that the name for this feast Vartavar comes from the word – rose and bright. Because like a blossoming rose, it reveals its beauty, Christ revealed himself, Gods beauty, his light in the same manner. However, everything that Holy Scripture teaches us is what? A reality and an applicable part of our life. Meaning that last week when we read about the Feeding of the 5,000 we understand that God is also feeding us. When we read about the Lost Sheep, we understand that we are also the Lost Sheep and God is our Shepherd. And when we read of Christ’s transfiguration, we need to understand that we are also called to be transfigured. We are also a revelation of Gods beauty. How? Are we all of a sudden going to turn white like snow and shine brightly?

Yes my dears, but only when we become like God. What does this mean? St. John writes in his letter, “that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” All those attributes that Solomon wrote about God, we must also reflect; we must be a reflection of God’s light and not walk in darkness. This begins how? “fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” St. John doesn’t say, first the blood of Jesus than fellowship, rather he begins with fellowship with one another. Because my dears, in order to truly be in the wisdom of God, to be the light, the love, the hope, the peace of God we must start by being those things to each other and with each other. This means that our spiritual eye must see the beauty that each person is – the beauty of the image of God in which we are created in. And this doesn’t mean only the priest, the children or those in our families. This means everybody – whether we agree with them, whether we like them, whether they speak our language or even if they don’t believe in our God. Nowhere in scripture do we ever read love your Christian neighbor or love your faithful neighbor as yourself. No! Rather, love everyone, care and tend to everyone, have fellowship with one another, then come to the blood of Jesus Christ, Holy Communion, who cleanses us from all sin. That is how we too become transfigured. That is how we too become a beautiful, blossoming rose in the garden of our Lord. That is how we become a revelation of God to others.

What can we do, to be more loving of our neighbor? What can we do to reflect God in the same way Christ is the wisdom of God? Remember my dears, when we are baptized, we too become Christ through our Holy anointing. As we read in Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We too are called to be transfigured and shine bright. The choice to do so is ultimately our own. God has given us the tools by which we can. And when we walk in the light, when we are transfigured and cleansed of our sins, we too will be beautiful and good. For we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) for this purpose. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – We are all beautiful in the eyes of God, for God is good and we are called to be like God. And though each one of us can be described differently just as we each might describe beauty in a different way, when we are in God we are good. We are in the light and we become the light that shines brightly in a world full of darkness. By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us be transfigured through the Holy Spirit to be the reflection of our Heavenly Father through our faith and works. Glory to God, Amen!

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