Der Vasken’s Sermon on July 24, 2022

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

It took place high atop a mountain and only three people were invited to be there. Today, we celebrate a major feast day that our ancestors called “Vartavar.” Its proper name is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The transfiguration was a stunning moment of light and glory that surrounded Jesus and radiated from within Him at the same time. That is the transfiguration. For that brief moment, Peter, James and John, who were on that mountain with Him, were shown that He was who He said He was. It must have been like water bursting through the dam as the Divinity of Christ burst through the humanity of Christ.

All this took place as crowds of people came to hear Him teach and preach and heal the people of the land. They came to see Him and touch Him or be touched by Him and so after six days of this, He instructed three of His disciples to go with Him to a nearby mountain for rest and prayer. What He didn’t tell him at this point was that they were about to see something that no one else on earth had ever seen before. They were about to experience the Holy Trinity. They were about to experience God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit together, and as was read a moment ago, these three disciples witnessed an astonishing event.

Jesus Christ was altered by the Light of Heaven and seen standing within the Kingdom of Heaven. At that moment, the three disciples saw Him as the Son of God, who always was and always will be. They saw a peek into Heaven. The three disciples followed Jesus up the mountain to find peace and a quiet moment for prayer, and when they did that, they saw the Glory of God.

So we should ask ourselves on this feast day what is the Glory of God? The Glory that Christ promises is very different than what the world around us promises. The Glory that Christ promises is not the glory of a beautiful complexion or a toned body or a much-envied career or a home people resent that you have and they don’t or an income others wish they had as well. Those are the things that are glorified in this world and they are the things we will leave behind in this world someday.

The Glory that Christ promises is very different than those things. The Glory that Christ promises is felt from within—the Glory of a soul united with God in both the good days and the bad days of life. This is the Glory that escapes so many people because they are told and we are all told to look everywhere else but up to find this kind of Glory. The Glory that God offers is the only kind of Glory that will go with us into the Gates of Heaven and not fade away or grow old or be stolen from us. The Glory that Christ promises lasts forever.

He waits every day for each of us to stop for a moment and follow Him to a quiet place where He will show us the Glory of Heaven and how to achieve lasting Glory in this world—a world that repeatedly tells us to place our trust in the temporary things of life because He knows that too many of us will become preoccupied and distracted by the glory of this world and blur out the Glory of His world that will last forever and ever and never fade away.

So, let’s leave here today asking ourselves:

• When we think of Glory, what comes to mind first?
• What kind of Glory do you seek or do your children seek?
• Does it reflect more the eternal Glory of God or the temporary glory of this world?

The Feast of Vartavar invites us to follow God into never-ending Glory. When you think of Glory, what comes to mind first?


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