Spasa, the Feast of the Transfiguration, is my most favourite feast day. How wonderful to be in our parish where it is our Praznyk! In the height of summer, when fruit and berries are abundant, we bring these gifts of the earth to be blessed in church—reminding us that this delicious sweetness that (literally) grows on trees and provides nutrition, energy, beauty and enjoyment, is a sign of our salvation. This miracle of fruit symbolizes the transfiguration of the world, us included, into vessels of God’s love.
Just as the earth is nurtured to provide fruits that sustain life, so too we nurture each other so that we produce ever more love. Just as too much effort and exploitation depletes the earth, so too we become tired and dispirited and less able to produce much goodness.
That is why we celebrate Divine Liturgy on Sundays. Once a week we know that we can come here to be with others. Whether we know people in church or not, we can be sure that we share together the desire to be “good” in the way that Christ modeled for us. When we come, perhaps too aware of our own shortcomings, we spend time with everyone else, being part of a communal praying for everyone else in the world. What a lovely way to instantly be unselfish and feel better about ourselves! We inspire each other and replenish our energy to produce fruits of goodness out in the world in our everyday lives.
As Christians, we are transfigured through Christ; but this is an ongoing process! We continually must tend the plants that produce fruit. In the past few bulletins we’re reading about recent saints/martyrs: ordinary people whom the Soviet regime killed because they were vessels of God’s love. Neither God nor they chose their suffering and untimely death. Those who refuse to see the world transfigured, try to erase the divine light that shines through us, when we live in love. We are fortunate right now, to be where we are free to be truly Christian if we choose. But this doesn’t mean it comes easily. I realize, when I’m in church, that I am surrounded by saints—not the spirit kind—but flesh and blood parishioners, who in ways large or small show kindness, patience, understanding. Despite personal fears and troubles, fellow parishioners greet me with a smile and I feel welcome. I feel God’s love and the world, once again, is transfigured with goodness.