I was sitting and reading the Epistle and Gospel yesterday, trying to put myself in the disciples’ places, trying to imagine what it was like to see, actually see, Jesus’ transfiguration. Truly, all I could think of was that I would do as the disciples did-I would fall down and hide my face in awe. Imagine not only being with Jesus and experiencing his holiness firsthand but also watching as he became filled with, overshadowed by, the Christ, the veritable Second Person of the Trinity. How fortunate were those three who were allowed to witness this and, of course, later to bear witness as well, to share the wondrous tale for us who aspire to become like Him someday.

Geoffrey Hodson in his book The Christ Life from Nativity to Ascension has a chapter on the Transfiguration. Briefly he says:

In these verses descriptive of the Transfiguration of Christ, the purely historical record is elevated into an account of the spiritual experience passed through when an illumined state is entered, here by the Christ and, to a lesser degree, by the three disciples. Christ’s selection of Peter, James, and his brother John for participation in the Transfiguration scene suggests that these three disciples may have attained to varying degrees of enlightenment and were more advanced than the other members of the group. They may have already passed through preceding degrees and were thus permitted to enter the temple where the higher degrees were being celebrated, in order to perceive something of the great event. As recorded by Saint Matthew in the apparently simple and certainly brief account, the experiences of Jesus himself are not given, but only those of the three disciples. This could indicate that he ascended to levels of consciousness and passed through an initiatory degree to which they had not yet attained.

An indirect reference to the custom of establishing centers, temples, or as Peter called them; tabernacles of initiation may be discerned in these verses. The mystical experience that is said to have followed, namely a bright cloud and a voice, doubtless also refer to that interior expansion of consciousness that is produced by passage through the great initiations. The verse may indicate that Jesus himself had successfully achieved this, as the voice of the unnamed speaker, presumably the Lord God, proclaimed this fact.

The disciples themselves may have been so elevated in consciousness by receipt of the privilege of witnessing the exaltation of Jesus, their Master, that they became temporarily endowed with extrasensory perception. The supernormal sights and sounds thereby revealed to them may well have excited an awe, referred to as fear. After the ceremony or interior experience was concluded, the heightened awareness would tend to be reduced, which, with the visible presence and the touch of Jesus, would restore them to normality.

Restoring us back to normality, I decided that I would also address the other intent for the third Sunday after the Epiphany, Sincerity and Control of Speech. Who among us does not need a gentle reminder about curbing our tongues? The Epistle not used today from Ecclesiasticus is worth sharing, so I will read from it here.

He that can rule his tongue shall live without strife, and he that hateth babbling shall have less evil. Rehearse not unto another that which is told unto thee and thou shalt never fare the worse. Whether it be to friend or foe, talk not of other men’s lives; and if thou canst without offense, reveal them not. If thou has heard a word, let it die with thee. Admonish a friend, it may be he hath not done it, and if he have done it, that he do it no more. Admonish thy friend, it may be he hath not said it; and if he have that he speak it not again. Admonish a friend, for many times it is a slander; and believe not every tale. There is one that slippeth in his speech, but not from his heart; and who is he that hath not offended with his tongue?

By our words, we make ourselves, our hearts, known to the world we live in. Those words, once uttered, cannot be unsaid, undone, so it behooves us to make them lovely, truthful, helpful. So often I think of Krishnamurti’s little book, At the Feet of the Master, when I look for practical guides for living an upright life. He says:

You must be true in speech, too-accurate and without exaggeration. Never attribute motives to another; only his Master knows his thoughts, and he may be acting from reasons that have never entered your mind. If you hear a story against any one, do not repeat it; it may not be true, and even if it is, it is kinder to say nothing. Think well before speaking, lest you should fall into inaccuracy.

You must guard, too, against certain small desires that are common in daily life. Never wish to shine, or to appear clever; have no desire to speak. It is well to speak little; better still to say nothing, unless you are quite sure that what you wish to say is true, kind, and helpful. Before speaking think carefully whether what you are going to say has those three qualities; if it has not, do not say it.

Never speak ill of anyone.; refuse to listen when anyone else speaks ill of another, but gently say: "Perhaps this is not true, and even if it is, it is kinder not to speak of it."

Finally the White Eagle books also afford me great inspiration. In Golden Harvest I found a few thoughts for today.

Preserve a heart of love and compassion and keep your thoughts good, constructive, and loving. You can render no greater service to God or man.

Rise above the babble of the market-square, and abide in the quiet places of the spirit where you will hear the voices and know the companionship of the Shining Ones. If you can do this you will become a channel for the healing of men’s souls and bodies.

Do not be anxious or question your way; neither grow weary. Live in the Christ radiance and His power will sustain you. You will be guided by the Brethren in all you do. Accept and follow the Christ way.

I believe this final quote from White Eagle will bring us back to the Transfiguration and give us thoughts to take with us as we go back out into the world.

There is no power greater than the Christ light. Control and command over the physical and spiritual atoms are achieved not by power of man’s earthly mind but by the very essence of the lowly spirit of the gentle Christ.

We understand how easily weariness of mind and body can possess you, for we ourselves have not forgotten our earthly experiences. We understand the heaviness of matter, and how it weighs you down. Yet saints and sages have evolved bodies that have become so light and vibrant that they live and move between the physical and etheric state. This same process of evolution is continually going on in all physical matter; all humanity is progressing upwards in its return to the divine Father-Mother God.

Whatever problem lies before you can be solved by the Christ love, the great and only true solvent of all problems. The life, the power of the Christ spirit can never be destroyed. Man’s body may die, people may disappoint him, and his world may pass away, but the spirit of the Son of God can never fail. His light is life. Live in this light forever!

And now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three Persons in one God, be ascribed all honour, might, majesty, power and dominion, now and for evermore.


Judie A. C. Cilcain, Deaconess

January 26, 2003

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