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This Is My Beloved Son

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

“Jesus took Peter, James and his brother, John and led them up a high mountain by themselves, and he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light … A bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’” (Matthew 17: 1-2, 5)

There is a popular Christian song popular that comes to mind when I think of the transfiguration. It is by the group Mercy Me and titled “I Can Only Imagine”: Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel? Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still? Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine.

Peter, James and John’s experience was likely not what they had expected as they climbed the holy mountain with Jesus and found themselves in the presence of God. The Book of Matthew records that they went face down and were very much afraid. They were assured by Jesus: “Rise, and do not be afraid.” There are many other times throughout the New Testament that Jesus tells us, “Do not be afraid,” as he is always with us.

It is hard to imagine what my response will be when I see Jesus face to face. Will I dance, fall to my knees or just be in awe?

Recently, my family and I cared for my dad during the last two months of his life. It was a holy and sacred time as he ended his earthly journey and transitioned toward heaven. During these months, we reflected on his life: growing up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming; continuing in adulthood as a rancher and wheat farmer; being a university economics professor; fishing; becoming an involved grandfather. Every memory included the love he had for his family. We had the opportunity to share stories, remember what he taught us and think about the good he had done in his life. While certainly not perfect, it was a life well-lived.

While the empty spot in my heart is enormous, now I focus on feelings of gratitude for the innumerable blessings I received from my earthly father. I can rejoice that he is freed from physical pain, suffering and the burdens of this life as he joins our Heavenly Father.

My prayer for him, myself and all of us is that when we are standing face-to-face with Jesus, whether we sing, dance or fall to our knees, God will say of us, “This is my beloved son/daughter with whom I am well pleased.”

Gracious and Loving God,

We thank You for Your love for us.

May we live our lives in a manner that brings glory to You.

We look forward to the day that we may be in Your presence

to sing, shout, dance or just feel Your love and be in awe.


Karen Gallagher
Vice President Mission, Avera St. Mary's Hospital

DANIEL 7:9-10, 13-14 • PSALM 97:1-2, 5-6, 9 • 2 PETER 1:16-19 • MATTHEW 17:1-9

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