Whilst the Transfiguration of Jesus is a key moment in his journey and ministry, and is a major festival in the Christian year, I confess that for me, when I hear the word transfiguration, the first thing I think of is Professor McGonagall (or Dame Maggie Smith, who played her to perfection). Changing one thing into another was one of the core lessons in the world of Harry Potter, and it’s something we all try to do much of the time. In the worst cases, we try to shove square pegs into round holes, causing immense damage in the process. In a more positive way, we ourselves are constantly in the process of being changed – being transfigured – in our lives and characters through our experiences.
For those who follow Christ, St Paul (2 Corinthians 3.18) is clear that we are all being changed – transfigured – daily more and more into the likeness of Christ. Indeed this is a key part of our Christian journey of faith, and part of God’s purpose for our lives. Many of you will have heard me pray that each day I may see the face of Christ in all whom I meet, and that in turn they may see Christ in me.
Today I was reading a newspaper article on how angry people are these days. It’s so sad that we take out our frustrations on each other. We’ve all had those moments when it’s been a really hard day. We’re exhausted, low, and really don’t need anything else to go wrong. So when it does, we sometimes lash out. But what if, instead, we take a deep breath and try to see it from the other side? What if we remember that the person we are talking to is also a beloved child of God, and is therefore our sister or brother? And when someone is all grumpy with us, maybe we can laugh with them, or at least acknowledge that it’s not about us – they’ve had a rubbish day too, as Deborah Ross wrote in the The Times today.
The Transfiguration was originally something which happened to Jesus, when he was revealed to his disciples as the Son of God, in shining glory, accompanied by Moses and Elijah. Those disciples saw who he really was on the inside, no longer hidden by external appearance. In the same way, may we allow the Christ light that is within us to shine more brightly, and may we do our very best to see it in others also, acknowledging that we are indeed all being transformed daily to be more and more like Christ.
Romans 12 has a good bit of advice on this. Especially the final verse: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”