Monday, July 28, 2008

Mysticism on the Mount

Cornelius Monsma
Two of Jesus' more important events in his earthly ministry occur on a mountain: The Sermon on the Mount and The Transfiguration.

The two events seem quite different: the Sermon is essentially a reconfiguring of the 10 Commandments. It is the way of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Transfiguration is a revealing of the divine nature of Jesus.

In many ways, Western Christianity has embraced the Sermon more so than The Transfiguration. While the Sermon isn't given a "day" on the Calendar, it's teachings so woven into the fabric of the faith, that it would seem to be unnecessary to "celebrate" it as such. The Transfiguration does have a date on the Calendar (August 6). So while the event is celebrated, I wonder if the implications of the event aren't as fully absorbed as those of the Sermon.

I was drawn very quickly to The Transfiguration. It was so fantastic; and I do mean that in all it's meanings. I had never heard of this happening, while I had heard of many of the phrases from the Sermon (the "Blessed are..." ones, or as I now know, The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-9).

I am currently writing my first sermon, and the Transfiguration is the topic. I have decided to take the actual transformation as the main point. The three synoptics describe the event slightly differently:

and he was transfigured before them:
and his face did shine as the sun,
and his garments became white as the light.
Matthew 17:2 RV

and he was transfigured before them:
and his garments became glistering, exceeding white;
so as no fuller on earth can whiten them.
Mark 9:2-3 RV

And as he was praying,
the fashion of his countenance was altered,
and his raiment became white and dazzling.
Luke 9:29 RV

Each brings a unique element to the story. Luke informs us that is was during prayer that Jesus' transformation occurs. I believe this is key to a correct understanding of the event.

As I continue in my research and thinking, I will continue to post points of interest.

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