Due to  travel, there will be no issue of this e-letter for the next two weeks. 

The Transfiguration of Our Lord

And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

--- Luke 9:28-31

This Sunday 6 August, we will celebrate The Feast of The Transfiguration, the event recounted in the Gospel reading above and referenced in the Second Epistle of Saint Peter. In that portion of the Epistle which you will hear read on Sunday Saint Peter, knowing that he has not long to live and wishing to ensure that the Church will not abandon or corrupt what he has taught them, emphasizes that he has recounted to them the events of Jesus' life as he himself saw them. He makes it clear that he was an actual eyewitness and that his testimony regarding Jesus is firsthand. Given that he was with Jesus from almost the very beginning of His public ministry, it seems striking to me that the only event which he then goes on to reference is not the Resurrection but the Transfiguration. He clearly sees it as an extraordinarily important proof, perhaps the most important proof, of who and what Jesus is.

As the very name of the feast implies, the aspect of the event that generally considered be the most prominent is the visual transformation of Jesus' appearance, but it must be pointed out that this transformation is not all that Saint Peter describes. It may indeed be merely a visual preparation of the disciples to hear the words that will be spoken to them, the identification of Jesus as God's Son and the divine command to listen to what Jesus tells them.

I believe that this reveals an important truth about communication. Last week my grandson Carter and I visited the Museum of Illusions on H Street. It features a number of visual illusions, including many of the type which can be seen in more than one way. I imagine most of you have seen the “Is it a rabbit or a duck” or “Is it a vase or two faces in profile” ones of this type. They are a reminder that while two or more people may be looking at the same thing they may be seeing different things. Even if no illusion is intended, two viewers of the same event may notice very different details about it. Eyewitness testimony, though valuable, is neither infallible nor totally reliable.

Words are different. They enable us to be more precise than pictures do in conveying meaning. If I show you a Byzantine church mosaic of a peacock, you will certainly know that it is a mosaic of a peacock, but if I will certainly need words to explain that it is a symbol of both the Resurrection (because the male sheds and regrows his tail feathers each year) and eternal life (because it was believed that its flesh did not rot).

We should not discount the value of either the visual or that of visual symbolism in the Christian life. Both of of immense value and the Christians who disdain them are the poorer for it, but words, and most supremely the words of God, are paramount. Even words spoken or written by humans can have great meaning and beauty and power; the words of God have infinitely more of all these. Little wonder, then, that Saint John teaches us that Jesus is the Word made flesh, or that in the the First Epistle of Saint Peter we are reminded that

“The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

Father Bragg +

post scriptum: Here's something that I ran across that really doesn't fit in the main note above but which I found too interesting not to share. The traditional site of the mountain up which Jesus led His disciples to experience the Transfiguration is Mount Tabor. During the period of the Second Temple (516 BC to 70 AD, so during Saint Peter and Jesus' earthly lifetime) beacons were lit there to announce to the villages of northern Galilee the beginning of certain Holy Days in the Jewish temple calendar. A most appropriate site.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

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Upcoming Events

Sunday Services, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )

Sunday School will resume in September

Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion and anointing for healing (for online participation, check info under Sunday Services)

Next Vestry meeting September

Annual Parish Picnic, Sunday October 8 at Fort Hunt Park, following a 10 AM combined service (no 9:00 AM or 11:15 AM services that day) , more details closer to event.

Food Donations 
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar 

The list for MaRIH Crisis Pregnancy Center's needs was recently updated.  The items in bold type are in critical need.  If you can, please donate those items.
Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff provides help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
 Items marked with  * are a critical need.

Diapers (sizes newborn, 1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, & 6*)
Baby wipes*
Diaper rash ointment
Summer clothing: Newborn, 3-6 mo.,6-9 mo., 9-12 mo.,12-18 mo,, 18-24, 2T*
Baby shampoo
Baby blankets
Sleeping -- Pack-n-Play*
Formula: Simulac Advance Formula*
Formula: other but not recalled
Wash clothes
Hooded towels
Grocery gift cards*
The Collect, The Epistle, & The Gospel for Trinity X
The Collect, The Epistle, & The Gospel for Trinity XI
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