“We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.” In these words Saint Peter declares himself to be an eye-witness of the revelation of Jesus’ divine nature in the moment of His Transfiguration. The glory of Jesus on the mountaintop is not a story he heard, but his own true lived experience. This first-hand experience of God is a key part of our witness as Christians.
Saint Peter related his experiences of life with Jesus almost 2000 years ago. As with the rest of the Bible, Peter’s witness can help us to deepen our understanding of God and strengthen our relationship with God. But something else is also necessary. We need a current, present-day contact with Jesus; we need the Church!
The Church, the Body of Christ, provides the world with an unending point of contact with God. We can see God present and active in the work of the Church each and every day. The Sacraments show this encounter most explicitly. Jesus continues to heal the sick in the Sacrament of Anointing, Jesus continues to forgive sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Jesus continues to conquer sin and death and unite people to Himself in Baptism. And in the Eucharist we receive our daily Bread from Heaven: the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
But wait, there’s more! Even the Bible, the Sacraments, and the visible structure of the Church do not exhaust our possibilities of encounter with Christ. Every moment of every day of our lives we are free to unite ourselves with Christ in prayer. We can open ourselves up to the revelation of God’s glory, just as Peter, James, and John experienced Jesus’ glory on the mountaintop. We can invite Jesus to be King of our lives, and even now we can live united with Jesus as we will be in heaven. As “Protestant” as it may sound, we all need to invite Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior, and to repeat this invitation frequently.
Jesus is God, we are His People, and this reality should shape every moment of our lives as Christians.