a priest's musings on the journey

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sermonette: Sunday After Transfiguration - 6 August 2006

Then it happened. A sudden... light flashed all around. The light was bright orange รข then white, like thousands of lightning bolts all striking at once. And... the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.

These two sentences sound like they are describing the same event. But, in fact, they describe two different events that are juxtaposed against one another in today's calendar. Both events were occasioned by a brilliant light which shone brighter than the sun. Both flashes of brilliant light were overshadowed by a cloud. Both moments changed the world.

Since ancient times this day has commemerated the Transfiguration of our Lord upon the holy mountain. In a moment, the appearance of the human Jesus was changed and his body radiated the glory of His divinity. The apostle's were able to recognize the true identity of Jesus, confirmed by the voice of the Father from a cloud.

For the past 61 years, this day has also commemerated the bombing of Hiroshima. In a moment, the appearance of the world changed and the earth was envelopped in darkness and suffering, and the worst of what makes us human was revealed, confirmed by the mushroom cloud which overshadowed death, destruction and dispair.

I was tempted to write in a parallelism, that in the blinding light of Hiroshima, our true identiy was revealed; but that isn't true. We cam not deny that we are capable of great evil- just look at what is happening on this 6th day of August in Sudan, Iraq, and Lebanon. At our worst we are selfish, greedy, and lustful of power and wealth. The Evil One draws us toward those sinful identities; but that is not who we really are. In truth we are good- the children of light. In reality God is working in us, molding and shaping us to be in the likeness of Christ. We await the day when we will stand before God, and the glory of the Divine Son will radiate through us, when fully united with Christ, we will share in his glory and participate in his divinity.

The good news that we proclaim today is that as evil as we may become, that is never the final action. God has the final say: the mystic cloud of the Divine Presence overshadows our cloud of destruction. We kill and destroy- God breathes new life and ressurrects; we cover the light by the darkness of our sins- God ignites the flame of His love and rekindles the light of Christ among us. When we create hell, God transfigures it into Paradise. That is the hope; that is the message we proclaim in our Gospel: by the power and love of God, we are being transfigured: we are being united with God and with one another.

Holy God, you require us to pause and remember the unimaginable ...
At 8:15 a.m. on August 6 and at 11:02 a.m. on August 9, atomic bombs were dropped over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You ask that we remember the human shadow imprinted on stone. You ask that we remember the standing charred body of a woman, one leg lifted as though running while clutching a baby to breast. You ask us to remember black rain and children on fire and a little boy calling to his dying brother. Forgive us black rain and the ashes of children. Forgive us the human shadow imprinted on stone. Amen.
(a prayer from the Presbyterian Church)

May the souls of those who died +in Hiroshima and Nagasaki rest in the mercy of God our Savior.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:11 AM


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