As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. … A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Luke 9:29, 35
The transfiguration story is a theophany – a visible, audible manifestation of the divine. In its details, it reminds the reader of God’s appearance to Israel when the he established his covenant with Moses and the people of the Exodus. God is recapitulating the history of his people in Jesus, but he’s doing more than that.
Here, God the Father makes the invisible nature of his Son visible. Jesus shines with heavenly glory. His divinity is unmistakable. The Father audibly speaks from the cloud to those assembled: “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
Of course God does not speak in the same way when the church assembles on the Lord’s Day. Jesus does not appear in shiny clothing in our midst. As we worship, though, we should be aware that we are in the divine presence even though that presence is hidden to ordinary sight. Jesus was always the Son of God – not just when his divine nature became visible on the mountain.
As the Gospel reading is announced to the congregation, we respond by joining the Father in glorifying the Son. We praise him with “Alleluias” and with one voice we acclaim, “Glory to you, O Lord.” And then, as the Father directed, we listen to his Son speak to us as the Gospel is read.
Later, when we share the Lord’s Table, we have his promise that he is with us, giving himself to us in the form of bread and wine. His presence is invisible to natural sight, but he is there. And wherever Jesus is, his presence is still glorious for those with eyes to see.