05 February 2006

Transfiguration Joys

Today those Lutheran Churches using the historic lectionary celebrate the Transfiguration of Our Lord. What a joy this feast is! How beautiful is the light of Tabor, uncreated and mysterious, which reveals to us WHO it is that hung upon the cross, destroying Death by His death. There are several beautiful hymns for this day, but my all time favorite is "O Wondrous Type" - sung to the lovely Agincourt hymn, and with trumpets and choir enhancing its beauty. We got the treat of singing it that way this morning at St. Paul's:

O wondrous Type! O vision fair
of glory that the Church may share!
which Christ upon the mountain shows
where brighter than the sun He glows!

With Moses and Elijah nigh
the incarnate Lord holds converse high;
and from the cloud the Holy One
bears record to His only Son.

With shining face and bright array
Christ deigns to manifest today
What joy shall be their's above
Who joy in God with perfect love.

And faithful hearts are raised on high
By this great vision's mystery,
For which in joyful strains we raise
The voice of prayer, the hymn of praise.

O Father, with th'eternal Son
And Holy Spirit ever one,
We pray you, bring us by Your grace
To see Your glory face to face.


Mimi said...

The Joy of the Feast to you. May I ask why it is in February in your Lecitonary and not in August?

William Weedon said...

It's a Lutheran peculiarity, dating to the mid 16th century. The Feast was tranferred from a fixed day in August to the end of the Epiphany season, as the crowning epiphany of the Lord aside from the Crucfixion and Pascha. We like to say that we come down from the Mount of Transfiguration and begin the journey to the Mount of Gologotha with Pre-Lent (which starts next Sunday).

Anonymous said...

Lutherans have a pre-Lenten period? I never knew.

Waving excitedly at Mimi!!

William Weedon said...

The historic lectionary (abandoned by 90%+ of Lutherans) provided three Sundays of prelent:

Septuagesima - the Gospel is the workers in the vineyard, and the message is that the work does not "merit" a thing - but is a gift of God to all. It also contains a powerful warning against the sin of grumbling!

Sexagesima - the Gospel is the parable of the sower, and the theme is that God works through the Word that is heard, believed and acted upon. It challenges us with how we are doing listening to the Word.

Quinquagesima - the Gospel is the healing of the blind man at Jericho, who after having his eyes opened, follows Jesus up the road to Jerusalem. Message is: with eyes wide open to the mercies of God in Christ, let us go with Him on His journey to Jerusalem (Lent to Holy Week to Pascha, from suffering and death to eternal life).

fr john w fenton said...

In case you're interested, if you go here (http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/w/owondrus.htm) you get the original translation by John Mason Neale. No doubt, the alterations have been good improvements; however, the second and third stanzas are conflated--a conflation that I find unhappy.

William Weedon said...

Fr. Fenton,

I concur, and I had not realized that there had been any conflation at all. A splendid text!

Mimi said...

Thank you very much for the information, I appreciate it. I also did not know of the Pre-Lenten Sundays in the Lutheran tradition, thank you.

(waves to Deb!)