I am feeling nostalgic. Charlotte and I saw the London premiere of the Australian film ‘Ladies in Black’ (and yes, if you get a chance to see it, do so). I very much enjoyed the film set in a big department store in Sydney in the summer of 1959-1960. It follows the lives of 4 ‘ladies in black’ (the black refers to the stylish uniform worn – this is an elite department store). The ladies work in the women’s clothing section of the store and through them we see vignettes into aspects of Australian life with its weather, landscape, British cultural and historical origins, and the impact of migration (the ‘refos’ [refugees]). Why am I nostalgic? Well besides the amazing computer graphics work to recreate Sydney of that time … I was seeing parts of my life. I saw my parents – separately and as a couple. I saw hopes and dreams, kindness and bigotry, growing up issues, the changing role of women, food moments (the arrival of salami and red wine!) – all basking in the glaring Aussie sunshine. I don’t want to go back to the past as such but in my reverie I’d like to think that the world was less cruel coming out of the horrors of World War 2. (I think we all, at times, would like our living all around the world to be simpler and kinder.)
From time to time I have wondered if I had been Peter, James, or John how much I would have returned to Jesus’ transfiguration as the days went on. How often would I have recalled the glow, the brightness, Moses and Elijah, the cloud, the voice from heaven? Would I feel still somewhat ashamed for my dopey reaction? Would I be smug that I had the experience? What I be surprised that months or even years go by and I don’t think about it? You see, I expect that this event would be so significant that it would shape me. And yet, as amazing as it is, the New Testament doesn’t seem overly concerned about it. Jesus’ transfiguration isn’t central to the Christian Faith but it isn’t insignificant either.
What I read in the New Testament is that the cross and empty tomb are central to everything. These are post transfiguration events. It means that Jesus’ death and his resurrection ‘outshine’ his transfiguration! If I’m going to be spiritually nostalgic then that is where I need to return again and again. My sin. God’s grace. Jesus for me. Lord, have mercy. Wonder of wonders – he has! Go out and live. GS