Raphael’s “The Transfiguration”

Transfiguration_RaphaelThis Sunday I will be preaching about Peter’s peculiar desire to make three dwellings for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses on the mountain during the transfiguration. In his words, I believe, was the desire to remain on that mountain in order to continually experience God’s radiance. However, life is full of both mountaintops and valleys. It was good for Peter to experience the transfiguration; it was not good for him to try to prolong it.

Raphael’s The Transfiguration captures the incredible contrast between the mountain and the valley. The top of the frame witnesses to the glory and radiance described by the synoptic writers, the beauty of that striking event. The bottom shows the tragic need and suffering of the disciples.

The image serves to help connect the two seemingly opposed experiences. Our lives are made up of both joy and suffering, righteousness and sin, success and failure. It is in a painting such as this that we are reminded of the true value of the incarnation; God came in the form of flesh in Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human, to be celebrate with us in our triumphs and weep with us in our sorrows.

Son of Man, Son of God

In preparation for Transfiguration Sunday (March 2, 2014)


“The Transfiguration” by Sufjan Stevens

When he took the three disciples to the mountainside to pray

his countenance was modified, his clothing was aflame

Two men appeared, Moses and Elijah came

They were at his side

The prophecy, the legislation spoke

Of whenever he would die


Then there came a word of what he should accomplish on the day

Then Peter spoke, to make of them a tabernacle place

A cloud appeared in glory as an accolade

They fell on the ground

A voice arrived, the voice of God

The face of God covered in a cloud


What he said to them, the voice of God, the most believed son

Consider what he says to you, consider what’s to come

The prophecy was put to death, was put to death

And so will the son

And keep your word, disguise the vision

Till the time has come


Lost in the cloud, a voice

Have no fear, we draw near

Lost in the cloud, a sign

Son of man, turn your ear


Lost in the cloud, a voice

Lamb of God, we draw near

Lost in the cloud, a sign

Son of man, son of God