Transfiguration of Our Lord— Collect of the Day
O God, in the glorious Transfiguration of Your only-begotten Son
You confirmed the mysteries of the faith
by the testimony of Moses and the prophets,
and in the voice that came from the bright cloud
You wonderfully foreshowed our adoption by grace.
Therefore mercifully make us co-heirs with the King of 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. Amen.
That’s what we will hear as the all-encompassing theme of the last Sunday in the Epiphany season, which for our current church year will be February 11, with Ash Wednesday occurring on Valentine’s Day, and Easter on April Fools! But before we get to Easter, we count back six weeks, forty days plus the Sundays in Lent, and begin our season of repentance with Ash Wednesday. The contrast between the brightness and the glory of Transfiguration with the ashes and darkness three days later seem to offer a mirror-image of Holy Week’s drama. Transfiguration helps us prepare for the austerity of Lent because in that magnificent event, our Lord revealed to us a glimpse of what all this suffering is truly worth. What are we going to reap once we have sown all our tears of earthly trials and struggles with sin? The Collect above fleshes it out as we see it in our Lord’s Transfiguration.
only-begotten Son– More than just one-and-only (as in John 3:16, NIV) but one with the Father who sent Jesus the Son for us and for our salvation (Nicene Creed).
confirmed the mysteries of the faith– What was once hidden in dark prophecies whose fulfillment had to wait centuries before they would be fulfilled, was gloriously revealed in a magnificent way when the chief human authors of Scripture (the Law-Moses; and the Prophets-Elijah) appeared and conversed with Jesus about His “exodus”—His death on the cross, His resurrection on the third day, and His ascension into heaven in order to send us His Holy Spirit, all to establish His Church for whom He will return one day.
the voice that came from the bright cloud– God’s presence with His people in the Old Testament was signified by a cloud, sometimes the cloud had a bright light within it, the light of God’s greatness, or glory, that testified to His almighty power to defeat sin and save His people, as demonstrated in one example by His rescue of Israel from Pharaoh by means of the waters of the Red Sea.
foreshowed our adoption by grace– When the Father said from heaven, “This is My Son, whom I love…” that meant that when we confess our sins and believe in Jesus, we may be assured that God the Father has also adopted us as His own, for we have been cleansed from sin and renewed in the image of God (Jesus, see Colossians 1:15) in which we were made.
mercifully make us co-heirs– Not only are we forgiven and renewed, but we also now join with our Lord Jesus as possessors of rights to His kingdom of everlasting glory. We didn’t deserve this special status, but Jesus earned this right to become children of God (John 1:12) and gave it as a gift to us.
bring us to the fullness of our inheritance– Thanks to Jesus, when we die, we go to heaven, free from sin, sorrow, crying, disease, or pain. And yet there’s even more! The “fullness of our inheritance” will include the resurrection of our bodies and the life everlasting in His new creation, of which heaven itself can even be described as only the beginning, but never the end.
The request of this ancient prayer has been fulfilled for us already when Jesus completed His mission and won our salvation through His cross. Yet we continue steadfast in our faith, by God’s grace alone, confident that while we endure sins, hardship, persecution, and sometimes grief, we are nevertheless comforted that the glory of Christ that dazzled the three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration will one day be seen in us for eternity. May this highlight of our Church Year prepare you for a fruitful reflection on all our Lord has done for you!
Yours, in Christ’s service,