Every year on the feast of the Transfiguration, I feel torn in two. The Transfiguration is one of my favorite holidays in the Church year. When Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain and right before their eyes is transfigured into the shining figure of the Resurrected and Victorious One, with Moses and Elijah on either side of him representing the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets in this one life, I am stunned. I remember reading the passage on Transfiguration Day about twelve years ago and seeing what the fullness of human life can be.
I also remember that on the same Transfiguration Day when I realized it was also the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. I will make no bones about the fact that I am profoundly opposed to nuclear weapons under any circumstances. I don’t think they should have ever been used or should ever be used. Today, however, is not a day to debate whether or not nuclear weapons should have been used, but it is a day to reflect on the fact that they were used, what that means for our collective soul in the US, and how we should move forward.
I hope all Christians, especially those in the United States, will take some time today to reflect on the Transfiguration of Jesus and on the meaning of atomic bombing of Hiroshima. What does it mean for us to be Christians in the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons? What does it mean that we still have enough of these weapons of mass destruction to destroy all life on earth? What does it mean on this festival of life that it is also a commemoration of ultimate death?
As usual, I don’t have any answers, but I hope you’ll take some time with me to contemplate these and other questions today.