As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Feast of the Transfiguration

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ on Mt. Tabor, also known as the "little Theophany." For those who wish to read more about it, here are two explanations of the feast from the Orthodox Church in America and the Greek Orthodox Church in America as well as a sermon from St. Gregory of Palamas.

There are surprisingly few hymns on the feast. This one is a translation by my hymnic hero, John Mason Neale, of an ancient, Latin office hymn. However, Sufjan Stevens, one of my current, favorite artists, has a song about the Transfiguration on his album "Seven Swans" (a collection of really good Christian songs). I wish we'd sing it at church. Anyway, here is a video of the song and some lyrics followed by some of my favorite icons and other renderings of the Transfiguration.



When he took the three disciples to the mountainside to pray
His countenance was modified, his clothing was aflame
Two men appeared; Moses and Elijah came
They were at his side
The prophecy, the legislation spoke of whenever he would die

Then there came a word
Of what he should accomplish on the day
Then Peter spoke, to make of them a tabernacle place
A cloud appeared in glory as an accolade
They fell on the ground
A voice arrived, the voice of God
The face of God, covered in a cloud

What he said to them
The voice of God: the most beloved son
Consider what he says to you, consider what's to come
The prophecy was put to death
Was put to death, and so will the Son
And keep your word, disguise the vision till the time has come

Lost in the cloud, a voice: Have no fear! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Turn your ear!
Lost in the cloud, a voice: Lamb of God! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Son of God!

Chords: Em D Dm C / Bm A Am G