O God, who before the passion of your only begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today I took special note of the our Parish’s three 15-foot-tall steel-blue stained glass windows depicting the Transfiguration above the Baptismal Font. I kept asking myself, can we really talk about Apocalyptic Theology (Martyn et. al.) in a descramentalized world?

I think Doug Harink was exactly right when he mentioned how difficult it is to grasp the apocalyptic Transfiguration in a Protestantized universe. Like Harink, I’ve had to reread 2 Peter with Eastern Orthodox and premodern theological eyes. Of course this makes perfect sense: the East, unlike western Christendom, did not suffer the nature/supernature distinction, nor did it possess a concept of pure nature. As Lossky states, “the world, created in order that it might be deified, is dynamic, tending always toward it’s final end” (The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, 101). Apocalyptic is less about rupture and more about transfiguration; less about an interventionist God “positing” revelation and more about theosophy (Pickstock).

Margaret Barker makes a similar point: “Until my experience of the Orthodox Liturgy, I had restricted my own researches to ancient text. My own confessional background being Bible-based rather than Liturgy-based, it had never occurred to me that Liturgy opened up a whole new world, or rather, showed me a world that I already knew very well!” (The Great High Priest, xii).

I’m not exactly sure what to make of Barker’s Temple Theology, but I share her experiences of the Liturgy and the notion that sola scriptura has hindered rather than helped my understanding of theology.

Our Priest stressed today in his last Sunday of Epiphany sermon that the Transfiguration occurs in the middle of the Christ story. There is something to this, I think. Something about the Transfiguration and the metaxu: the porosity between immanence and a non-competitive  transcendence (William Desmond), and how this all relates to Apocalyptic.

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