Second Sunday of Lent, 2022

Tags: service sermon

Mother Meg Harvey presided and Fr Peter Beck preached as we celebrated the Transfiguration. We heard the Transfiguration account from Luke 9:28-36.

No video this week, but read on for the sermon below.


The older I get the more aware I become of how my life, my way of being, is filled with contradictions. It is neither all darkness nor all light. It’s kind of both at the same time. I have said things I wish I could take back, made decisions I regret, and done things that don’t reflect who I want to be. In the darkness of what I have said, decided, and done, however, there is always a glimmer of light, illuminating what could have been and holding out hope for what can still be. I hold dear phrases words like “God is closer to us than we are to ourselves’, and ‘with you, I am always with you, your hand in mine.’ And I choose to believe that even and especially in those times when I don’t feel God’s presence, that God is with me and will never leave me to face my perils alone

I suspect each of you could talk about the contradictions in your life. Contradictions seem to be part of the human condition. One moment we are kind and gentle and the next harsh and mean spirited. We are filled with compassion for one person and indifferent to another. The contradictions of our life are revealed in those moments when we say, “I don’t know what came over me. I’m just not myself today.” They are the cause of sleepless nights, hurt feelings, and the reason we confess our sins each week. They lie at the heart of all the times we’ve said, “I should’ve, could’ve, or would’ve, but.”

With all these contradictions it is as though we are living a veiled life. It is as if there is a veil covering light, the original beauty with which we were created, made of love and for love, made in the image of God. It’s a veil that is hiding the light that in our darkest times is alienating from our true selves, estranging us from God and each other. The world is dark and we walk amongst the shadows.

And then we occasionally have those moments when the veil is lifted and we bathe in the love of God, for a moment we feel at one, held in this eternal love. In those times the veil is lifted for a moment and we experience the glory of the Lord. We speak and act differently. We get back up despite our failings. In these moments, there is a brightness to our life and world. We feel alive, authentic, and at home. Our words, decisions, and actions come from a deep place of illumination and knowing. We radiate with integrity and wholeness. Such was the experience of Jesus. The veil is lifted for all to see, the reality of the total at one ness of Jesus with God the creator and the life-giving spirit. Here is the trinity revealed in glorious light show to Peter, James and John. No wonder Peter wants to catch the moment and hold on to it “Master, it is good for us to be here.” And in those moments in those thin places where the membrane between heaven and earth is wafer-thin, in those moments we experience, wouldn’t it be good to just stay there, enjoy it all and not come down off the mountain top. I sometimes feel that during the mass

Peter, the rock on whom Jesus will build his church, knows something about contradictions. One minute he is walking on water and the next minute he is sinking (Mt. 14:28-31). He confessed Jesus to be “the Christ of God” (Lk. 9:20) and he denied him three times (Lk. 22:54-62). Today on the Mount of Transfiguration he is veiled by the weight of sleep and unveiled in wakefulness. He says it is good to be there and he doesn’t know what he is saying. His life is a picture of contradictions and so is ours.

Ours is both a veiled life and an unveiled life. They are concurrent realities for us all. The Mount of Transfiguration rises between those two realities

On the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus did not become something he was not already. Rather, Peter, John, and James saw him for the first time for who he always had been. The veil had been lifted. They saw the light of his divinity shining in and through his humanity, the same humanity he shares with you and me.

The Transfiguration says that we are all, every one of us, luminous beings. The difference is not that some are luminous and others are not. The difference is between those who know it and those who do not, those who live unveiled lives and those who live veiled lives. Maybe like me you are a mixture of both.

To the extent we do not know or trust, that we fall short of all that we are created to be, we are living veiled lives. We live, act, and speak in ways that are less than who we are intended to be. Sometimes our life is veiled in our failures, our fears, our forgetting. Other times the veil of grief and despair, ignorance, or the choices we have made leave us in darkness.

And yet regardless of how our life gets veiled the light of divinity is never extinguished. It has only been covered up. We are in need of confession, forgiveness, and absolution, and of a time to pause, to wait on God that his glory will once again light up the fire within us. The power of the pause which can and will reconnect us to the core of who we were created to be. Here in this Eucharist, the most important thing that is happening in the universe at that moment, God is once again known to us in the bread and the wine. The actions are symbolic of the truth that this is the eternal light and love of God not just in this sacrament. No, this is the very nature of God always in every moment. The light of the transfiguration is always there, oh we of little faith. Oh how I yearn for those occasional experiences I have had in my life of the light and energy and grace of God, that moment when for a brief instance I know who I truly am, in a way which is beyond all rational knowing. Each day when I come in my morning prayer here before this altar, I recall, remember these moments and they feed me with the bread of life.

The light of Transfiguration sends us into the darkness to discover the ways in which our lives have become veiled. It is our guide and companion. It lights the way and holds before us the hope and reality of an unveiled life. The veils of our life can only be removed when we first know our life to be veiled.

If you want to know the ways in which your life has become veiled go to the places of contradiction. Search out the places of struggle and conflict. Look for the ways in which you are living less than who you really want to be. Those are places of veiling. We all have them. Even as the veil hides the light it also points to and marks the light’s presence.

Behind each veil, hidden in the darkness, is the light of Transfiguration calling us into the fullness and realization of who we have always been. As each veil is pulled back we become more fully and authentically ourselves until one day, with unveiled faces, we will see the glory of the Lord and recognize ourselves.

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