The Transfiguration event that we meditated on yesterday is recalled in all three synoptic gospels as well as Peter’s epistle (Matthew 17.1-8; Mark 9:2-9; Luke 9: 28-36; and 2 Peter 1:16-18).
One scholar of Mark’s gospel, Leonard Doohan, called the transfiguration event “the true center-point of Mark’s gospel, the revelation of Jesus’ glorious and transcendent Sonship.”
The Transfiguration story contains motifs from Jesus’ baptism, resurrection, crucifixion, and ascension so it becomes sort of a “mini gospel”—not unlike the Christmas gospel stories.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity considers the Feast of the Transfiguration to be the pivotal point of the liturgical year.
It is pivotal, I suggest, because it finally recognizes the moxa of the historical Jesus whom Peter calls “rabbi” or teacher in tandem with the doxa of the Cosmic Christ.
Each of the four accounts of the event are explicit about this, and Peter’s letter especially emphasizes the point of the theophanic experience they shared.
Notice the use of the cosmological term “glory” and how God is called “Sublime Glory itself” in this text from Peter’s epistle:
It was not any clearly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves. He was honored and glorified by God and the Creator, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, ‘This is my son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor.’ We heard this ourselves, spoken from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain. (2 Pet. 1:16-18).
The Eastern tradition never fell completely into the “introspective conscience” of Augustine and the West and thus never forsook the Cosmic Christ motif.
Here is how Russian theologian Nicolas Berdyaev celebrates the Cosmic Christ theology of the transfiguration:
The central idea of the Eastern Fathers was that of theosis, the divination of all creatures, the transfiguration of the world, the idea of the cosmos and not the idea of personal salvation…. Only later Christian consciousness began to value the idea of hell more than the idea of the transfiguration and divinization of the world…. The kingdom of God is the transfiguration of the world, universal resurrection, a new heaven and a new earth.
A rich meditation, I propose, for New Year’s Eve 2023–or any New Year’s Eve.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 102f.
And Fox and Marcus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 82f.
See also Fox and Marcus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ Meditation Cards and Guide Booklet
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Sunset Radiance, Hřensko, Děčín 2, Ústí nad Labem Region, Czechia. Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
What does this understanding of redemption as theosis mean to you, the experience of transfiguration of the world in contrast to personal salvation? Do you agree that the idea of hell sometimes becomes for valued than the call to transfigure the world via justice and compassion into a new heaven and a new earth?
The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance
In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.
Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.
This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit
Stations of the Cosmic Christ Meditation Cards and Guide Booklet
Beautiful full-color cards from Stations of the Cosmic Christ to aid in your meditations on the Cosmic Christ, featuring the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Step beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross and experience a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times. Includes an instruction booklet containing suggestions on how to use the cards.