By Sarah S. Howell
The Transfiguration is a narrative in which revelation and mystery meet. Jesus’ place among the prophets is confirmed as he appears with Elijah and Moses, and a voice from on high declares his relationship to and authority from God. The disciples are bewildered, afraid, and unsure how to respond.
Christian prayers and hymnody have strongly reinforced the idea of giving glory to God or glorifying God. Some traditions prioritize prayer or morality or social justice. While all these aspects have their place within the worship and work of the triune God, often they nudge out time we might spend simply marveling at God’s glory. Peter is so thrown by the power of the divine presence that he scrambles to do something to commemorate or preserve the moment rather than receive it.
Glory is not something God needs us to give; when we glorify God, we participate in the glory that comes from God. When we catch a glimpse of God’s glory (or perhaps even receive an incredible vision), we do not need to do anything or say anything. Our only response should be one of awe.
The word awe in its original sense implied reverence, admiration, and fear. The Transfiguration as an event is “awe-full”—not bad but full of awe. What role does awe play in your life? Do you tend to want to resolve every mystery or explain every revelation? What would it look like for you to see and receive the glory of God in your life today?
God, help me pause today to see the dazzling light of your glory, whether it bursts upon my heart like a sunrise or filters stubbornly through the cracks. Amen.