The Transfiguration of Jesus

The disclaimer went, ‘The views expressed in this article are not endorsed by and do not in any way represent the opinions of [the authors’ employers]’. Ok, I get that. Then I read ‘They should also not be taken to express the views of the authors’. … Huh???!!!

Why write it then? To make money? To be provocative? As an academic exercise? Studies of linguistics and communication dwell into the relationship between author and words and then words and reader / hearer. Can the words stand by themselves irrespective of the speaker? We’d say ‘Yes’ when thinking about a legal judgement – though even here there might be variance when considering rulings from the High Court or the Supreme Court. We’d say ‘yes’ in terms of a medical diagnosis. We’d nod at least at any communication when we also hear ‘Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!’. Some words are not really tied to the speaker or writer. But who wants to read a message from a loved one that was written by someone else? Who would like to see at the bottom of such a message ‘The views expressed should not be taken to express the view of your husband / wife / son / daughter / mother / father / friend’?!

You read this ‘blurb’ knowing that I am writing it. You are getting an idea of the thoughts expressed – the message – and also more of an idea about me. The two together help us to understand perspectives and people – and when we’re the ones communicating, then others can understand our perspectives and a little more about us.

It is surprising to me that we are not a Church of the Transfiguration emphasising the shining and glowing Jesus all the time. No, we’re focused on something ugly – the cross. We can understand the three disciples’ awe and being flabbergasted and fear. But what we might miss is the cause of their fear and terror which I think is far more linked to the cloud on the mountain – them entering the cloud – the voice they heard from the cloud – which with their Old Testament associations meant the presence of God. (The cloud both reveals and hides God.) “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” But these words have no real meaning if a postscript floated down which they picked up and read, ‘The views expressed should not be taken to express the view of voice from the cloud.’!

In all the talk about religion, spirituality, and deities today – identity is important. There has to be a correlation between speaker and words. Religions are more than ethics and behaviours. At their heart are relationships, identity and meaning – and if you’re unable to know the link between speaker and message then you make up your own meaning.

It is fascinating to me that Jesus is the Word made flesh! God incarnate. What you hear is what you get when the identity is Jesus. He will never say to you that his words are not from him; that he will change his mind about you. (Yes, that means we have to listen carefully to words said ‘in Jesus’ name’ – but that’s another ‘blurb’.) For now my point – and let me become a voice in the wilderness – is that because there is a cross and empty tomb, listening to Jesus – that’s what we emphasise – reading the Gospels especially – is meeting God – and going down the mountain, life is never the same.                                                                                                                                GS