Monday of Transfiguration – prayer of the Week

O God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your beloved Son You confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of Moses and Elijah. In the voice that came from the bright cloud You wonderfully foreshowed our adoption by grace. Mercifully make us co-heirs with the King in His glory and bring us to the fullness of our inheritance in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

I remember a conversation I had a with a young man many years ago. We were talking about his visit to a remote Mexican village. He was appalled by the poverty he had seen there but was particularly incensed by the beautiful chalice he had seen in the Roman Catholic church on Sunday. He knew that such an exquisite piece of art could have been liquidated and provided something like a school or a medical clinic in that place.

I did not have an immediate answer to his outrage. It seemed like another example of the church caring more for its own glory and not enough about the plight of the people it should serve. But at that point, another fellow in the room chimed in. “Who drank from that chalice?” he asked. My older and wiser friend went on to explain. Yes, the chalice could have been sold. That money could, in an ideal situation, have done some lasting good in that village. That is clearly so, but he also urged us not to discount the good it was doing at this moment. The people of that village endured a crushing poverty, poor medical care, a dismal opportunity for education, but once a week, when they came to church, they drank from a beautiful silver cup, the cup a prince or a king might drink from. They participated in something rich and wonderful. All of them had that opportunity. It was given to all who knelt there. The chalice was not reserved just for a few. Their lives all had one bright moment which connected them to heavenly bliss. It is true, the contents of that chalice could have connected them to heaven in a simple clay cup. Yet, that the contents were reflected in the beauty of the cup, in the jewel encrusted, precious metal which John describes in his pictures of heaven, made it even more meaningful.

In the Transfiguration of Jesus, God has shown us a momentary picture of what Jesus looks like right now and where we headed. We pray in this prayer for what God has promised. We are co-heirs of Christ in his glory. Surely, our lives probably do not reflect that right. Compared to heavenly mansions and eternal life, even the most palatial of our homes are hovels, pest-infested holes. Here we are given a picture and with Peter, James, and John, we taste and see that God is good.

Yes, give to the project to build the school or medical clinic which serves the needy poor. These are good things. We asked the young man what he had done to help that situation. It got a little uncomfortably quiet then. His answer to the suffering he had witnessed would have been to take the one beautiful thing out these people’s lives so he could transform it into what he valued, not necessarily what they rejoiced in. God has much better in mind that we can imagine. Do not seek to constrain Him to your vision.

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