EMAIL DEVOTIONAL Transfiguration Sunday
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. (Matthew 17:1-2)
I love Camp Nawakwa in Arendtsville, PA. It was the first Lutheran camp I visited in Pennsylvania, seeing it first as a seminarian in 1980, and then as a soon-to-be vicar at St. Peter’s in 1981. I have visited there once or twice a year for 35 years. In college at Furman University, I remember the beauty of Pretty Place Chapel at YMCA Camp Greenville and Sunday morning retreat worship overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. As a teen I remember retreat settings like Mount Tremper outside of Woodstock New York along the Esopus Creek, and Camp Koinonia, at that time a United Brethren Church camp near the Finger Lakes in New York.
It was not a coincidence that I found myself thinking about camps during my sermon prep this week. While not all church and youth camps offer mountaintop experiences, most of them have natural settings that invite one to engage with God the Creator, and communal settings that invite one to engage with God the Holy Spirit. The experience cannot be as overwhelming as was the transfiguration that Peter, James and John experienced. But it can be powerful and inspiring and formative for your faith life. If you have been involved in camping ministries … or you are a hiker … or you work in the natural world … or you rock climb … or if you simply sit and watch and enjoy God’s creation … you have been in the presence of this power and potency.
But what about other moments of transfiguration in your life? God’s presence in our world is richly sown among us and is potent in its impact on our lives. In your prayer and reflection this week, why not consider those places where you are confronted with the spirit and presence of God in a transfiguring moment … a time that brings light and life to you? Maybe a moment of prayer … maybe an experience of covenantal love in your life … maybe a deeply moving book that impacts your life … maybe a moment in history that changes the course of your life … maybe a rite of passage or ritual that marks you in a way that is distinctive. You will know the kind of moment I’m referencing. Recall it … celebrate it … give thanks for it … and revel in the light of Christ which has been gifted to you.