Feeling down after the excitement of the Olympics? Missing the wall-to-wall coverage of medal success? Remember what Andrew Wingate said in his sermon on 7 August about this Raphael painting of the Transfiguration: “The painting confronts us with two realities – that of Christ in glory – and the other that of the reality of human pain, suffering, conflict and struggle. It is an extraordinary depiction of the text – and of two sides of Christian life – the high times, the times of uplift in the Spirit, the encounters with the living Lord – and then the day-to-day realities of Christian discipleship, when it seems we can do little more than hold on in faith, when struggles seem overwhelming.”
Andrew went on to talk about transfiguring moments in the natural world and in history, of transfiguring images that appeared to change hearts and minds, of recent events that have generated both excitement and seeming dark prospects, and of moments of personal encounter – suddenly seeing others differently, or our lives differently.
He stressed the need to take time to reflect on such moments. “Your ideas mature gradually – let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make you tomorrow.
“Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
“So we are all a journey of Christian discipleship. There will be a mixture of times of transfiguration, and probably much longer periods of struggle. And Jesus will be with us in both, and we are to support each other in both times.”
Read the whole of Andrew’s sermon at this link.