The official feast day for the Transfiguration of Christ is August 6. Since it is normally not on a Sunday, it doesn't get much attention. However, the planners of the Sunday lectionary have placed the Transfiguration on the Last Sunday After the Epiphany each year. You can read Luke's account here.
Peter, James, and John were with Jesus on the mountaintop when they saw this itinerant rabbi in a whole new light. It was one of the most powerful and numinous of all the manifestations of Jesus as the Messiah. They heard the voice of God confirming the divine nature and mission of the Only Begotten.
The appearance of Moses the Lawgiver and Elijah the Prophet assure us that Jesus was the One who had come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. It was as if Moses and Elijah were passing their ministries on to Jesus the Messiah for him to complete.
Peter's suggestion that they build dwellings and take up residence in the experience reminds us of our tendency to want to stop the procession. When something wonderful happens, we feel as if it can't get any better than this and we want to preserve everything just the way it is. But Jesus had to come down from the mountain, respond to human need, and face the cross. Mountaintop experiences have their place. But there is always more to be done in the mission to which we are called.
I once heard about a university commencement in which the president's lapel microphone remained on as he was presenting the diplomas to the graduates, broadcasting his voice as he said to each one of them, "Congratulations! Keep moving."
Perhaps that is a message for us when we have an epiphany, a mountaintop experience. It is an important and wonderful thing, but not an end in itself. We draw inspiration and derive courage from it and we keep moving toward new opportunities God is preparing for us to walk in. "Congratulations! Keep moving."
I'll see you in Church!
The Very Reverend Ronald D. Pogue
St. Andrew’s Cathedral