Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Transfiguration by Carl Bloch (Click on image for larger version)
The church calendar marks this day as the feast of the Transfiguration.
The civil calendar marks this day as the anniversary of the day the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. August 9 is the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.
The imagery in today's scriptures of flashing light, signs in the heavens, messages from clouds, and the power of God take on particular significance when one considers what happens when nations wage war against each other and visit devastation upon brothers and sisters whom they have named as enemy.
What will be the judgment of the Son of Man, the Transfigured One, upon such history?
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
As I watched:
Thrones were set up
and the Ancient One took his throne.
His clothing was bright as snow,
and the hair on his head as white as wool;
his throne was flames of fire,
with wheels of burning fire.
A surging stream of fire
flowed out from where he sat;
Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him,
and myriads upon myriads attended him.
The court was convened and the books were opened.
As the visions during the night continued, I saw:
One like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
When he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
The one like a Son of man
received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many islands be glad.
Clouds and darkness are round about him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
Because you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth,
exalted far above all gods.
2 Peter 1:16-19
We did not follow cleverly devised myths
when we made known to you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received honor and glory from God the Father
when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory,
“This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven
while we were with him on the holy mountain.
Moreover, we possess the prophetic message
that is altogether reliable.
You will do well to be attentive to it,
as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.
This hymn is timely as we celebrate the Lord's reign over us and remember the ways in which we fail as subjects of the Prince of Peace:
H/T for the music to Diane at Work of the People
(Performance by the Southwest American Choral Director's Association Collegiate Choir. Editorial note: For a regional ensemble performing so beautifully a song celebrating the God "of all nations," the membership of the chorus and the orchestra is curiously homogeneous.)
Tune: FINLANDIA, Jean Sibelius (1899)
Vv. 1-2: Lloyd Stone (1912-1992)
Vv. 3-5: George Harkness
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a prayer that peace transcends in every place;
and yet I pray for my beloved country --
the reassurance of continued grace:
Lord, help us find our oneness in the Savior,
in spite of differences of age and race.
May truth and freedom come to every nation;
may peace abound where strife has raged so long;
that each may seek to love and build together,
a world united, righting every wrong;
a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.
This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth's kingdoms,
thy kingdom come, on earth, thy will be done;
let Christ be lifted up 'til all shall serve him,
and hearts united, learn to live as one:
O hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations,
myself I give thee -- let thy will be done.
Posted by Austin Fleming at 10:12 AM