Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
- 2Corinthians 3:17
On the final Sunday of Epiphany, we always read the story of the transfiguration - when up on a mountain, Peter, John and James witness Jesus suddenly transformed into bright light, speaking with Moses and Elijah. It is an overwhelming sight and the disciples are not quite sure what to make of it. Luke tells us they were terrified at the whole experience. It suddenly became clear to them, literally in a flash of light, that there was a lot more to Jesus than they’d ever thought, and therefore by association, there was far more to their own lives than they’d ever have thought also. Christ’s transfiguration transfigures their own identities as his disciples and followers. Suddenly they could see that it was all far more amazing than they’d thought possible.
From the moment we are born, the world gives us all kinds of limitations, and trains us in what we cannot do. But with God nothing is impossible. God transcends time and space and matter. And when we enter into whole, new, resurrected lives with Christ, we enter into the freedom of the Spirit of Christ, as Paul puts it - into a life that is not veiled by our own limited understandings and earth-bound perceptions of the way things are. That is, indeed, an amazing sense of freedom.
This amazing Spirit of Christ can also be more frightening than exhilarating. I mean, what do you do when all your familiar touch points are suddenly removed, or a life altering event changes all your perceptions? If the map of your life is suddenly far bigger than you thought it was, how do you know which direction to go? Often, we’d much prefer clear, simple rules and boundaries to limitless freedom. We’d rather retain our own sense order and control.
But control was the opposite of what Peter, James and John felt in witnessing the glory of Christ that day on the mountain. And it was terrifying. If Jesus can transcend time and space and matter, and we are with Jesus as his disciples, what does that say about us? What does it say about our world? What does it say about our work? Our relationships? How does this transfigure our lives?
Epiphany has been unusually long this year because Easter is so late. Epiphany is the season of manifestation - of Christ becoming manifest in this world right among us and challenging us on what that means in the way we live our lives. We’ve heard story after story of Christ showing up and shaking up all the assumptions we thought we had about who God is, and who we are. How has Epiphany affected your world this year? Your work? Your relationships? How has it transfigured your life?