The Transfiguration of Our Lord

Celebrated on 6 August.

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

Raphael painted The Transfiguration about 1520

This ancient hymn Coelestia fornam gloriae from the Cluniac Breviary of 1686 was translated into English by the Welshman Revd Richard E Roberts (1874-1945), who emigrated to North America in 1916. Originally a Calvanistic Methodist, he joined the United Church of Canada when it was formed in 1925 (an amalgamation of Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationalists) and was Moderator of the UCC 1934-36.

An image of that heavenly light,
The goal the Church keeps ay in sight,
Christ on the holy mount displays
Where He outshines the sun’s bright rays.

Let every age proclaimer be
How, on this day, the chosen three
With Moses and Elias heard
The Lord speak many a gracious word.

As witnesses to grace are nigh
Those twain, the Law and Prophecy;
And to the Son, from out the cloud,
The Father’s record thunders loud.

With garments whiter than the snows,
And shining face, Lord Jesus shows
What glory for those saints shall be
Who joy in God with piety.

The vision and the mystery
Make faithful hearts beat quick and high,
So on this solemn day of days
The cry goes up of prayer and praise.

O God the Father, God the Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One,
Vouchsafe to bring us, by thy grace,
To see thy glory face to face.
Amen

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