Monday, November 19, 2007

Transfiguration Moments

Monday, November 19, 2007 -- Week of Proper 28
(Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, 1231)

"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location --

Audio Podcasts of today's "Morning Reflection" and those from the past week are available from (go to St. Paul's Home Page and click "Morning Reflection podcast")

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p 992)
Psalms 89:1-18 (morning) 89:19-52 (evening)
1 Maccabees 3:1-24 (found in the Apocrypha)
Revelation 20:7-15
Matthew 17:1-13

Every once in a while, we are grasped by beauty and wonder. Our attention becomes fixed and it seems as though we are seeing with new vividness and reality.

I have a friend who tells of being seized by a small mountain violet while on a hike. For a brief while all other realities disappeared as he gazed at the incredible complexity of the little bloom. There were hundreds of hues of various colors; the fuzzy texture supported by veins bringing life from the earth seemed to speak of a living complexity that felt utterly miraculous. The beauty and life of this small plant struck him with awe. He knew of nothing else for a moment, as time stood still and all the wonder of creation seemed captured in this humble flower. Then his consciousness shifted, and it was again just a little violet on the side of a path on the edge of a rocky hillside.

In one of her visions, the 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich saw God wrapping all of creation in divine, tender love which is unfailing. Her vision compressed into a small hazelnut held in her hand. She asked God what this was. The answer she was given: "It is all that is made." Small and round like the globe, it was so tiny it could easily be dismissed or thrown away. But God loves it, and it will continue because God loves it. She realized that God loves all creation. Everything that we can see or hear or touch has three qualities: God created it; God loves it; God keeps it. All creation is holy and beloved by God, especially humanity.

Over and over we have these brief moments of clarity and deeper vision. For a second, a veil seems lifted and we see more deeply into the beauty and wonder that always surrounds us. These are moments of Transfiguration. They are available to everyone.

Peter, James and John had lived with Jesus for quite a while. He was their friend and teacher. Maybe their hearts harbored other hopes about him. For a moment, they saw him in another light. He seemed dazzling. They could see him in intimate connection with the great symbols of the law and the prophets, Moses and Elijah. They sensed some of the wonder and complexity that is his being. And then it was over. There was "no one but Jesus himself alone."

But for a moment, they saw the deeper reality of their friend Jesus. And that transfigured vision was actually the deeper truth of reality.

It is good for us to pay attention to our own transfiguration moments. Maybe if we nurture those glimpses into wonder and beauty, we will see more deeply and more regularly into the reality that is just below our ordinary consciousness.


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The Rev. Lowell Grisham
Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, AR

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life:
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.


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