Monday, 9 August 2010

A Burning Light, a Cloud, a Voice

On 6th August the church celebrates the Feast of Transfiguration. It reminds us of the story of Jesus climbing a mountain with his closest friends. There was a dazzling light, a cloud that overshadowed them, and they were terrified by the cloud, and a voice.

6th August is also the anniversary of a less auspicious event. On 6th August 1945, someone climbed, not a holy mountain, but into the cockpit of a plane - and dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. 150,000 people were killed. Other people later died from the effects of atomic radiation. 75,000 buildings were destroyed. The world has never been the same.

There was a voice booming from heaven. Here, too, was brightness, brilliant as burning magnesium. Here, too, a cloud that has come and has covered us all with its shadow. Truly, under the shadow of this new cloud, we are right to feel afraid.

Look at the shape of that cloud. It is the new tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We have eaten of its fruit and we shall never be the same again. Our good knowledge of the workings of God's beautiful creation has been turned to evil and annihilation.

We should pray and work for a nuclear free world. As Britain, inscrutably, renews its nuclear arsenal, let us protest, conscious that Jesus would say today: "you have learnt that nuclear war is evil, but I say this to you, do not war at all, do not hate, do not harbour a grudge, do not envy, do not bully, do not gossip for all these are the seeds of which the bomb is but the fruit".

We commemorate Hiroshima day, world peace day, by telling again the story of another climb, another light, another voice, another cloud. Jesus was speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. The cloud of evil hung over Jesus, just as it does us, but he was not overcome by it. Evil does not have the final word, and so it is today. Let us not be overcome by evil – either in ourselves or in the world.

Adapted from here.

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