Today is both The Feast of the Transfiguration and Hiroshima Day.

George MacLeod (1895-1991) was a Celtic prophet in twentieth-century Scotland who found the Iona community and lived his life practising compassion and peace.  He once reflected on the central idea of the material order being the temple of the Holy Spirit, in which he sees the atom as the emergent body of Christ. He then notes the coinciding of the day when the atomic bomb was dropped and the Feast of Transfiguration observing;

We took God’s body and we took God’s blood and we enacted a cosmic Golgotha. We took the key to love and we used it for bloody hell.

Nobody noticed. I am not being cheap about other people. I did not notice it myself. I was on Iona celebrating the Feast of the Transfiguration, in a gown and cassock, a hood, a stole, white hands, saying with the whole Christian ministry, “This is my body…this is my blood”.

Meanwhile our “Christian civilisation” without Church protest, made its assertion of the complete divorce between spirit and matter.

One man noticed. When the word came through to Washington of the dropping of the atom bomb- “Mission accomplished”- Dr Oppenheimer, in large degree in our name its architect, was heard to say, “Today the world has seen sin.”[1]

The word “sin” here is being used in its deepest sense of sundering, or tearing apart. The Feast of Transfiguration reminds us that God in Christ is always working, transfiguring us so that we may be part of healing what has been sundered, overcoming all separation between spirit and body, heaven and earth, God and creation. In this time when we are physically separated from one another, and perhaps feeling disconnected from the ties of love and intimacy that hold us, we might be reminded of the power of God working in us and through us, restoring and healing.

Today is a day therefore of mourning acts of destruction and also recognising that nothing in all creation, no earthly disaster, time of trouble or act of human evil can overcome the love of God. The revealing of Christ transfigured invites us to live by the vision of the One whose presence is everywhere- in all matter, and in the living, awakened presence of the people of God- drawing all things into a sacred unity. It is a vision of what we do not yet see, but maybe can glimpse in experiences of beauty and in every loving encounter.

Perhaps in this time of separation we need this vision more than ever, and a sense of the part we can play in bringing hope and healing.

My prayers continue for you all and our extended community here at St Andrew’s in this difficult time where the virus has hit so close to home and many are separated from those they love.  Please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Grace and peace,

[1] As reproduced in John Philip Newell, Sacred Earth, Sacred SoulCeltic Wisdom for reawakening to what our souls know and healing the world, (HarperOne, NY: 2021) pp208-209