Midweek Faith Lift
June 10, 2020
Station 6-The Transfiguration….Let Your Light Shine!
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
Good Morning, and a special welcome to our dear Unity Friends from Unity Northwest in Des Plains, Illinois where my good friend Rev. Elizabeth Mora is the minister. We are delighted to have you with us this morning while she is taking a well-deserved break! To bring you up to speed on our journey here at Unity of Ames, we have been working through the Sixteen Stations of the Cosmic Christ by Rev. Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus, and illustrated by Ulrich Javier Lemus and M.C. Richards. It is published by Unity House and I first encountered it at the Unity booth at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada in 2018.
We began with Creation, then the light flaring forth, next the process of Birth, the experience of Baptism and last week, the archetype of the Bread of Life, the Living Word of God. All of these are patterned after the Catholic idea of the Stations of the Cross, but as Stations of the Cosmic Christ, they are stations in our journey of spiritual unfoldment, our spiritual development and growth. Each one has become a symbol and invitation to take our spiritual practices and awareness deeper and deeper.
One of the ideas that we explored early on is that we are living in liminal space; this means the “in between” space where something has ended and what is new has not yet begun. These past weeks have revealed so many cracks and fissures in our society, signifying that what has been must come to an end. In our culture that this idea of liminal space is so very powerful that it truly holds all our experiences, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, white privilege and the virus of white supremacy and racism and all other “isms” right now, in June 2020.
When we explored the archetype of Baptism, it was clearly about an awakening of consciousness with the invitation to come up higher. It left us each with a provoking question, “What is the next wise thing for me to do?” This process of exploring this time we inhabit leaves us with more questions than answers as we encounter more and more of our human selves and find it more and more challenging to see our Christ selves in one another. We teach and preach and hold as our essential Truth that there is only One Presence and One Power in the Universe and in our lives, God the Good, omnipotence. And then we watch the news and see a fellow human being, George Floyd, murdered before our eyes.
We can begin to feel some questioning about whether our core teaching and belief is really true. And yet, and yet, even when it feels like our human nature is really challenging this Truth, there comes more evidence that it is in fact Truth. Because this week in Des Moines, we have seen the police and protesters take a knee together for 9 minutes in honor of George Floyd to say with a body prayer that this was wrong, oh so wrong. And that has happened in Chattanooga and Manhattan and other cities across America. It has been a long, long week, yet again, and we can lose sight of the Power and Presence of Love. And yet, and yet Rev. David McArthur, a Unity minister posted this statement by Mahatma Gandhi on his Facebook page on Tuesday:
When I despair
I remember that all through history
the way of truth and love has always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers,
and for a time they can seem invincible,
but in the end, they always fall.
Think of it—always.
Ok, take a breath, and know that we have arrived at Station 6- Transfiguration. We are about to be transfigured; as individuals, as a people and as a nation. Look in the mirror and see your black, brown, red and yellow sisters and brothers looking back at you. Because seeing race and color is to see only the surface and not the fact that we share DNA and the same beating heart as all people share. See with transfigured eyes that you are a part of all that is in this Universe of creation that is still creating itself. You are an essential part of this new creation! How will you recover that eye that sees all as God sees it?
Be still and know the Truth as Meister Eckhart, a 12th century mystic said it; “The eye with which I see God is the eye with which God sees me.” Transfiguration is recovering your vision of the Divine, which is shining and radiant in all created things, all of creation. It is more critical now to see it than ever before. Just what is this Archetypal event in Scripture of the Transfiguration? Well it shows up in all three Synoptic Gospels, suggestion the greater likelihood that something like this actually happened. So what did happen. It appears in all three gospels if you want to check it out: Mark 9:2-10; Matt. 17:1-8 and Luke 9:28-36. Here is how it happens in Mark 9:2-10
2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved;[c] listen to him!” 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
The Coming of Elijah
9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.
So what is this all about, anyway? Well, just before this passage, Jesus has told his followers that he will eventually experience great suffering and death at the hands of his followers, and they don’t want to believe it. And then, 6 days later this transfiguration thing happens, but only Peter, James and John, three of his closest and most trusted disciples, are allowed to witness it. They go to a mountain top, which metaphysically is a higher consciousness where they witness this great light and see Jesus with Elijah and Moses, also spiritually significant.
We are told it is 6 days later, 6 days after Jesus predicts his suffering and death. The number 6 is spiritually significant because it represents the perfect intersection of Divine and Human, two trinities, if you will, much like the Star of David. This signals to us that something about our Divine Human nature is going to be revealed in the true nature of Jesus. The reference to Elijah and Moses signals the same thing. The name Elijah is a combination of the two names for God used by the Jewish people: Eli and Jaweh. The presence of Moses signals the Presence of God for Moses was the only Jewish figure to encounter God on Mount Horeb when he received the 10 Commandments under a cloud just like the three disciples experience here. The hugely significant event here is that the disciples witness the light and power of the Divine nature of Jesus, they look with new eyes at the nature and power of our Divinity and they find it overpowering such that they can hardly stand it.
Of course, the first thing that Peter wants to do is build something, three tents, as if to contain this rather than embrace or express it. They were speechless, not knowing what they had witnessed and they clearly had difficulty just being with it. What the passage says is that the light, power and love of God cannot be divided or contained; it is also in them, but they can’t yet see it. Again, the number three, the trinity is the creative process: Mind, Idea, Expression from our Divine nature and Body, Mind, Spirit from our human nature. And they hear the voice that Jesus alone heard at his Baptism, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him!”
This is the Archetype of the Transfiguration, which signals the power of God, the Power of Love as distinct from worldly power. The suggestion made by Jesus at the end of this experience is that it will not be understood until after the great suffering of the crucifixion and the final transformation of the resurrection experience. So what does all this mean anyway?
Well, it is truly an invitation to open our eyes to see the power and beauty of our true Divine nature. Here is what Bishop Marc says on p. 84 of The 16 Stations of the Cosmic Christ:
When we face the Archetype of the Transfiguration we are confronted with our need to distinguish between worldly power and the power of God. The power of God prevails, not by dominating those who resist it, but by binding itself to the lives and the history of humans. The triumph is by means of the acceptance of reality, not its avoidance or its conquest.
What an incredibly powerful and relevant statement for our times, for the turmoil of racism, white privilege and police brutality, we have faced in recent weeks. We have seen that when the police listen, take a knee with those who have suffered oppression, walk with the protestors,then the protestors stop because they have been seen and heard. They begin to believe that they matter and that their suffering has been seen and that it matters. Until we accept that reality and stop trying to overpower it, it will not be transfigured into love, into the Christ, into Spirit. So let us hold space for the awakening of all beings to the true light of Love that we all are, let us all be transfigured and transformed!
Blessings on the Path,