Each year in June, we set aside a Sunday to commemorate the Dedication of the Church of the Transfiguration. The planning and vision for the church began in the early 1990’s. Our desire was to build a church to the “glory of God.” We wanted the building itself to speak through design, art, and music. The design committees sought artists who would be willing to train some of our membership in fresco and mosaic work, so that we could participate in those installations. Many of our young people helped lay the floor of the church and the atrium. Some of the column capitals were designed by Community members. And many of us helped with the building and finishing of wood for such things as organ pipes and choir stalls.
I remember our prioress telling us that through the process of building the church, God would do a work of building in us as well. It didn’t take long to see what she meant. It required sacrificial giving far beyond what we could understand at the outset. We had to throw ourselves on the mercy and goodness of God to accomplish such a task, and there were so many miracles along the way. We worked days, weekends, and late into the evenings. We worked in teams, which drew us closer together and kept our spirit strong. It was indeed true that we were under construction just as much as the church!
On the day of dedication, the building was basically a shell of mortar and limestone. The art installations of fresco, mosaic, and glass would happen during the ten years that followed. But the plan was well underway. We could look into the future and know God would bring it to completion.
Sometimes I sit in the church and just enjoy the beauty of the art, especially the image of Jesus in the apse. We wanted the church to be a beautiful work for God, and in the process, we came to experience the immensity of God: His Generosity, His Mercy for each of us, and the largeness of what He wants for the world beyond our walls. There are, in fact, no walls that could contain the Love He has for us. And so here we are in Orleans, Massachusetts. Just one group of people in the body of Christ, trying to do as God asks, trying to become His hands and feet in this place. Dedication Day is a remembrance of the past and a commitment to the future.