Taste and See: Glory

DSC01574 Hermitage St Petersburg 2015

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,
let all the coastlands be glad.
Cloud and darkness are his raiment;
his throne, justice and right.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

The mountains melt like wax
before the Lord of all the earth.
The skies proclaim his justice;
all peoples see his glory.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

For you indeed are the Lord
most high above all the earth,
exalted far above all spirits.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

Psalm 96:1-2,5-6,9

Responsorial Psalm for the Feast of the Transfiguration

The psalmist rejoices in God, the living God. Before God all else is passing, having existence only so far as it is rooted in him and permitted by him. As with all else, so with us: without God we are diminished, and ultimately would cease to have existence. But with him we live, and the sign of life in us is joy and love.

Icon. Hermitage, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

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Taste and See: All for us…

DSC09816

It was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves. He was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour.’ We heard this ourselves, spoken from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.

So we have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.

2 Peter 1:16-19

Second reading for the Feast of the Transfiguration.

God does not reveal himself for no purpose. Always God reveals himself pro nobis – for us. All this is for us, to help us to come closer to himself and to ourselves – from the divine we learn how to be human.

Let us keep trying to learn!

Transfiguration. Tewkesbury Abbey. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

Taste and See: And journey on…

DSC02795 Bethlehem 2017

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’ When they heard this the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’ And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’

Matthew 17:1-9

The Gospel for the feast of the Transfiguration

Peter longs for a pause, to linger enjoying the moment. But the challenge for Christians is not how best to stay put, but how to move forward in faith, finding the the godly when we come down from the mountain, living the godly and – maybe most importantly of all, bearing witness to others of the presence and love of God to them where they are and where they dwell.

Icon from Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: The Kingdom

Church of Transfiguration

As I watched:

Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.

And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.

Daniel 7:9-10,13-14

First reading for the feast of the Transfiguration

Christians interpret the above prophesy as one that is fulfilled by Christ – King of Love, Lord of all nations.

The very inclusivity of Jesus’ ministry provides challenge for us who proclaim his Lordship. So often, even when we seem prompted by religious motive, we are very provincial. That he is our Lord we have no doubt: that he is yours too we often seem much less certain, and regularly act as though we are uniquely privileged.

Sometimes the empire seems more likely to collapse from internal division, rather than from external threat.

Sanctuary, Church of the Transfiguration, Tabor, Israel. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: King of all

DSC03731 Worcester Cathedral

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

The Lord is king, let earth rejoice,
let all the coastlands be glad.
Cloud and darkness are his raiment;
his throne, justice and right.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

The mountains melt like wax
before the Lord of all the earth.
The skies proclaim his justice;
all peoples see his glory.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

For you indeed are the Lord
most high above all the earth,
exalted far above all spirits.

The Lord is king, most high above all the earth.

Psalm 96:1-2,5-6,9

Responsorial Psalm for the Feast of the Transfiguration

The two poles for Christian experience of God are the utterly transcendent and the profoundly imminent: God is entirely other and also wholly present.

The heavens symbolise this. They cover and embrace us and everywhere we look – and yet rooted on earth however high we reach we cannot touch.

These two poles of experience are made one in Christ – fully human and born of a woman; and fully divine, Son of the Father, begotten and not made.

In his love he reaches out to draw to draw us into a new communion of love.

Transfiguration. Worcester Cathedral. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

 

 

Speak Lord: To us, again…

DSC05717 St Peter's 2016

It was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves. He was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour.’ We heard this ourselves, spoken from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.

So we have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.

2 Peter 1:16-19

Second reading for the Feast of the Transfiguration.

The ultimate reality on which the Christian faith rests is the reality of God – without whom there would be no us, no nothing. Most everything else that we want to say about God has a symbolic and metaphoric quality about it. Our language and our discourse about God and us strives to be true but under the strain of trying to encompass and express the divine and transcendent it cracks.

‘It’s myth’; ‘Just fairy stories’; ‘Prove it really happened!’ The disbelieving reactions are many and not always that polite. And though there is much we can point to – historical records, the testimony of others, finally all these things can be challenged or ignored. At the end we take our stand with Peter. We know the truth of God through our experience of him.

We may not have had such powerful experience as Peter and his companions did at the Trasfiguration, but those moments of encounter and experience that we have had, and the community which has had such experience and lives by it, sustain us, and we move on all the better for what sustains us.

Mosaic. St Peter's Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

Speak Lord: Present and loving

DSC00113 St Nicholas Chapel, Kings Lynn 2016

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’ When they heard this the disciples fell on their faces overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. ‘Stand up,’ he said ‘do not be afraid.’ And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain Jesus gave them this order, ‘Tell no one about the vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’

Matthew 17:1-9

The Gospel for the feast of the Transfiguration

In the midst of the wonder – a simple statement and invitation. ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’

It should be so easy, but so often we fail.

This blog was born out of a desire to harness some modern technologies to help the Christian faithful in the more fruitful listening to the Word in the word.

Every day the invitation is there, but so regularly there are obstacles to faithful hearing, and putting into practice what we hear. How ironic that when we fail –the one to whom we turn for help, eventually, is that same beloved Son.

  • What helps you to hear? What hinders that hearing?

Transfiguration. St Nicholas Chapel, Kings Lynn. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.