Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bishop's Note - Collect for the Last Sunday in Epiphany

Bishop Eric Menees

O God, who before the passion of thy only-begotten Son didst reveal his glory upon the holy mount: Grant unto us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


It is hard to believe that Epiphany has almost passed and that we are hard on the heels of the Season of Lent - a season marked with drama, sacrifice and passion. As we enter this incredible and beautiful drama, it seems that the scene is set with type of a prologue - the Transfiguration of our Lord. Drawn from the 17th Chapter of Matthew, we journey with Peter, James, and John up the mountain to pray with Jesus. There, he is transfigured before our eyes, as St. Matthew says: "...his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light." (Mt. 17:2) In this glimpse of Jesus on the mount, we are blessed to see, with the disciples, a fuller revelation of Jesus’ divine nature. We, like the disciples, cannot see God face to face, for we would be overwhelmed by his grandeur and grace. I think of Moses in the book of Exodus, whom God allowed to see him for a split second - and even then it was only his back as he passed by. (Exodus 33:18 ff)

On the mount with Peter, James, and John, not only do we see a fraction of Jesus' divinity, but we are also blessed to see Moses and Elijah standing along side of Jesus - representing the fact that Jesus was and is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets!

Unlike the three disciples, we are not only free to proclaim what we have seen on the Mount of Transfiguration, but we are required to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ by telling the world that he was not simply a "good man" or a "moral teacher," but rather God Incarnate!

Equally, the collect reminds us that we are not yet in the promised land - until Jesus returns again, we are required to pick up our cross and follow him. We can do so because we know in the depth of our being who Jesus is, what he has done, and what lies ahead in Glory.

Note: The "Notes to the church" articles are written by Bishop Menees for the Diocese of San Joaquin. I have posted them on Soundings with his permission for a wider audience. This is also the case for his "Why I am an Anglican" series. Dale+

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