as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until the day dawns
and the morning star rises in your hearts.
2 Peter 1.19:
How can you get around it? Once you see it, it's everywhere! This lamp shining in a dark place is the morning star that is meant to rise in our hearts! The dark place is the mystery that is Ultimate Reality; the dark place is also the mystery that is the deepest part of our own being.I was so excited this morning to get to celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration with the good folks at St Columba's, or simply to celebrate it at all. I have been pondering this issue of non-duality so much (maybe more on that later) and feeling quite consoled and satisfied with Fr Bede's notion that the specifically Christian notion is union by communion, which is still so close that Paul says, "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me." And satisfied with the eastern Christian emphasis on deification. This is a stumbling block for folks such as Ken Wilber, who probably consider this to be somewhat less than strict non-duality, and for folks who don't like Ken Wilber who consider his emphasis on strict non-duality hubris. I don't need to know how to define the ultimate. It is enough to me to know that deification is promised us. We shall be like him when we see him as he is. Isn't that enough for now!?
And when I get worried about my own hubris, suddenly I see it everywhere, if not in the Scripture just cited, how about St Paul saying that Christ will "transfigure our lowly bodies into copies of his own." Or how about the eucology of (reading the prayers of) the Eucharistic liturgy in the Roman Rite: Jesus has heard the voice saying that he was the beloved son, the opening prayer echoes that and goes one step further praying that God would "show us the splendor of your beloved sons and daughters" and "help us to become heirs to eternal life with him"; the preface of the Eucharistic prayer has the beautiful phrase, "His glory shone from a body like our own to show that the Church which is the body of Christ, would one day share his glory––which I see referring to its individual members as well as the whole; the communion antiphon quotes 1 John, that in seeing him as he is––in his transfigured glory, "we will be like him"; and the communion prayer asks that the Eucharist we receive would "change us into his image."
I am remembering so may friends because of this feast. Moses and Elijah at first glance are symbols of the Law and the Prophets, Jesus being the fulfillment of each. But at second glance there is a deeper significance too––Denis Delaney has made it so that I will never forget. It's the mountain. Jesus is on the mountain, which was very significant to both Moses and Elijah before him. Moses has climbed the mountain to meet God, and it is there that he has his encounter with God, especially, as told us by Gregory of Nyssa, in the dark cloud, where God was. And Elijah of course is on the same mountain hiding from Jezebel when he has the revelation of God not in the earthquake, not in the firestorm, not in the mighty wind, but in the sound of sheer silence. And sure enough, Moses' cloud appears too in all the versions of the story (in Matthew it's a bright cloud). The Cloud of Unknowing, the same cloud that Jesus will enter in the story of his Ascension.
Peter wants to build three tents, nail it down. The synoptic Gospels all tell us just before this story that Jesus has given this beautiful discourse about "those who lose their life will save it," his discourse about not clinging to anything, just as Paul tells us he himself did not even consider godliness something to be clung to. But Peter wants to cling to this. It's normal. But nada nada nada––St John of the Cross makes sense in a whole different way now––even on the mountain, nada!
I love to think of this power, this light coming from the inside of Jesus. He was bursting with it. This is the sap that runs through the vine, and so to run through the branches as well. I also find it interesting that the disciples are asleep, and then they wake up. This is as metaphorical as actual too. They wake up! Wake up to the reality of who Jesus is. Was he always like this and did they just see it for the first time? Hopefully they wake up to the reality of what creation is too––charged with the grandeur of God, and even more that they too, as branches on the vine are filled with this same Taboric light.
How can you get around it? Once you see it, it's everywhere! This lamp shining in a dark place is the morning star that is meant to rise in our hearts! The dark place is the mystery that is Ultimate Reality; the dark place is also the mystery that is the deepest part of our own being.
I think this is why we do yoga, by the way.