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Into the Midst of Theology

Transfiguration is often connected to idea of theosis in Orthodox theology. But it’s a static conception of “theosis”: Peter wants to stay on the mountain and be wrapped in the outpouring of divine glory. But Jesus says, no, pack up and let’s go back down where real divine glory is to be found. Abide in me – Jesus is saying – and go, go Into the midst of theology, where theology is not abstract thoughts and speculations about God, but actual experience of God in the most unexpected places. And if we abide in Jesus, we don’t need a mountain, we don’t even need Moses and Elijah! But we do need Jesus – we need to listen to him and let him take us into the dangerous places where our faith and our commitment are tested. This is the message of our double Gospel reading (Matthew 17:1-9 and 17:14-23) today……

The wall icon of the Transfiguration at Holy Trinity Church, Portland ME

Peter wanted to set up tents on the mountain for Moses, Elijah and Jesus – not realising that Jesus himself has set up his tent among us: The Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us – Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν (John 1:14). The people of Israel lived in tents in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. Jesus invites us today to live in him, in his tent. Abide in me, he tells us. As you cross the desert places of life, abide in him.

Full sermon on audio file: