By Holly Campbell
When you were in your mother’s womb, before your first birthday, you looked altogether different than you do now. That cataclysmic birth moment was the beginning of a radical new developmental process, wherein you were to become something entirely different looking than the curled up little fetus you once were. You were destined all the while for an infinitely larger landscape of life, to become one of the illustrious members of the human race. We all get very celebratory about our natural birthdays and we should. It is our duty isn’t it…. to make cakes and light candles and blow up balloons and give presents and sing the same song every year and clap and send funny cards. I’m the first one there. I love it.
But if we’re not careful, all of that can become part of the problem. We can get so celebratory about this present life and about our natural birth that we take no thought of “the life of the world to come”, or “the life everlasting” which we happily acknowledge together on Sunday mornings when we say the ending of either the Nicene or the Apostles creed. It is precisely that new world order to which we Christians really belong … so I hope we say it with ghusto. Because, this is an outrageous way for us to be talking. We are proclaiming an invisible world behind this present one that is above and beyond it and around it and on certain Sundays we can even be heard saying: “we join our voices with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.” The poet Annie Dillard once said that there should be seat belts and crash helmets in our church pews, in order for people to take the hit of the glory of what is being said in there.
What if I were to suggest, that the blazing Transfiguration of Christ, seen by only three men on this earth, was actually a sneak preview of coming attractions for all believers? On the first hand Jesus was showing them that there was going to be glory on the other side of his grizzly suffering, and of course there was. It was his resurrection. And his being momentarily transfigured into this future glory is what sustained them and him through the darkest hours of torture in this present world. But what if that blazing light from his countenance meant something even more? What if it was also the sight of the glory that believers will have” in Christ” and in the life of the world to come? That would explain why humans are all such little glory junkies. Because we know we are meant for it, somehow, somewhere. We just look for it in all the wrong ways. A trip to the moon is now the new cruise, the new buzz.
When the truth of the matter is, before we can get the hang of it, we have to be born again. Trust me, its bigger than a trip to the moon. Just as we had to be birthed the first time to get into the developmental mode we’re in now on earth, so also we have to be birthed a second time, from above so that we can start to “behold the glory of the Lord and be “transfigured” into the same image from “ one degree of glory to another.” (II Cor 4:18) We have no idea of what immortal splendors we are meant to become. That, my friends, is the real buzz!