Transfiguration

By Renaissance Girl

Yesterday was the feast day of the Transfiguration, the name day of our church. Our Sunday Eucharist was enlivened with movement and brass fanfare and ribbons streaming from the west wall depicting the Transfiguration story. But what’s on my mind is transfiguration in its broader sense — most likely prompted by the combination of yesterday’s service, and the impending opening night of “Julius Caesar” this Friday by Elements Theatre Company. It’s a big word for a concept that is both basic and immensely mysterious — change.

A word most of us both long for and avoid. I easily focus on the little changes of my daily life — an updated rehearsal time, a cancelled event, a new living situation — and I overlook the fact that life itself is one big change, and one we can’t measure by time or distance. Like St. Paul says in the scriptures, “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”  Degree by degree, moment by moment, becoming who we are meant to be.

What eludes me sometimes is the fact that God can use anything to bring about this change. It’s not about me trying to become different — it’s an action God does in me when I say “yes.” Which is where “Julius Caesar” comes in. Isn’t part of what draws us to theater — or any art — is the potential for change? To see something a little differently, experience life in someone else’s shoes. I wonder if theater/art is one of the few places we humans are actually open to having our minds or opinions changed — maybe we even long for it. The “Julius Caesar” I read in high school, held at arms length, is quite different from the “Julius Caesar” I am living now. And sometimes just the willingness to engage (to consider that what seems like an old story from history, actually has something to teach us now) is all it takes to start the change.

I have a quote on my desk that I love and says it far better — it was said by Monsignor Timothy Verdon, Director of the Office of Sacred Art and Church Cultural Heritage in Florence, Italy. He says the role of an artist requires him or her to give to others and therefore inspires us to look to him/her as a giver of spiritual life and “by doing that, we acknowledge art’s potential to nourish our craving for richer, deeper, more meaningful life, and we are already changed.”

The Community of Jesus

 

Unexpected Joy in Change

 
I found myself thinking back this morning to life as a child, when every holiday was filled with the potential to sleep in, spend all day doing nothing but “fun stuff” and end with a bang and hopefully a movie. I sit here this morning in the home I share with two friends and their families, and I find myself laughing at what happens when you don’t even notice. When did the desire to skip your nap become the desire to occupy the kids (or dog) so you can sit down for 5 minutes?  When did the scheming to get out of chores become excited anticipation of those moments when everyone is out of the house and you can get some cleaning done?  And, when does it happen that your greatest desire goes from jumping in the car and escaping to some far off playground with friends, to just having a few hours to be home?
 
What amazes me is that the joy is the same.  As a child, you can’t imagine anything could be better then pizza and ice cream. Suddenly, five minutes with friends just sitting and talking, feels like a gourmet feast. Here, amid the mayhem and expectations of children on this holiday, I wonder what the day will hold and what unexpected pockets of joy will be discovered.
 
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