Transfiguration Sunday celebrates the glorious revelation of God in Jesus Christ and Christ’s manifestation as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Jesus’ radiant appearance on the mountaintop evokes the devouring fire of the glory of the LORD at Mount Sinai (Exodus 24.17). Here, as at Jesus’ baptism, God claims him as a beloved child, in whom God is well pleased.
In their account of this event, the synoptic gospels offer an enlightening tableau vivant, with Christ flanked by Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, representing the prophetic tradition. With this vivid image, the gospel writers demonstrate the relationship of the human Word of God to the tradition of Israel and set forth the hermeneutic by which they read the Hebrew Scriptures.
HOPE OF THE AGES
An excerpt from the Companion to the Book of Common Worship (Geneva Press, 2003, 148-149)
The Sunday immediately prior to Ash Wednesday is an appropriate time to celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord, because this event marked a transition in Jesus’ ministry in which he “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51), where he would die.
In Jesus’ transfiguration, we are assured that Jesus is the hope of the ages. Jesus is the One who fulfilled the Law given through Moses, the one dreamed of by the prophets, of whom Elijah is the greatest.
In celebrating this event, we rejoice in the divine majesty of Christ, whose glory shone even when confronted with the cross. It is given us for our journey through Lent toward the agony of the cross and the victory of the empty tomb. We celebrate this mystery in order that our faith may be renewed. We are transformed into the new being in Christ as we join Christ in his death and resurrection in Lent and Easter.