Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus. We
celebrate the occasion on which a mysterious light shone from within
him, transforming his countenance, and making his clothing dazzlingly
white. A cloud came down on the mountain swallowing Jesus and his
disciples, the cloud that guided Moses and the Israelites through the
desert as they were making their way to the Promised Land, and within
the cloud God’s voice directed Peter, James and John to listen to and
obey Jesus, God’s chosen son. Though the disciples wanted to remain on
the mountain, enjoying God’s presence there, they went down to the
lowlands with Jesus.
Today is the anniversary also of the day (Aug. 6, 1945) on which at
8:15 in the morning, Japan time) the United States dropped an atomic
bomb on Hiroshima. There also there was a brilliant light, but of a
different sort, that lighted the heavens and blinded, burned and melted
thousands of men, women and children. As the light faded, a mushroom
cloud swallowed the land. When it lifted it revealed death and dying
Peter did not want to leave the mountaintop. He wanted to remain there
enjoying the consolation that God’s presence and Jesus’ majesty
bestowed on him.
However, when thinking of the devastation that the A-bomb wrought on
the city and the people of Hiroshima, perhaps, our desire is to escape
the memory of this horrendous deed.
Some years after the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, one of the
physicists who helped develop it, told an assembly of clergymen,
“People like you have to save the world from this insanity.” The
physicist may have been speaking to a group of clergymen, but surely
his words would be better addressed to everyone in our wounded world.
We have, all of us on one occasion or other experienced the Lord’s
consolation, as did the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Like Peter we might well prefer to stay on the mountain. The
anniversary, however, of the destruction of Hiroshima reminds us that
there are tasks of the utmost importance in the lowlands and that we
must leave the heights to address them.
“Lord, keep me always alert and awake to you, to your word, your
action, and your daily presence in my life. Let me see your glory.”