“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them…”
Three summers ago, Deb and I took a vacation out west and split a week between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming. Both parks are spectacular, each their own way. Of the two, my favorite was the Grand Tetons.
Only later did I learn that, at one time, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod owned a sizeable piece of property right in the middle of the present park. It gave to property to the National Park Service for free – something that, from what I hear, some old-time Lutherans in the Wyoming District have not forgotten or forgiven the Synod for doing.
The Episcopalians have always been much shrewder about these kinds of things than we Lutherans. They were given a piece of property in the Park on which to build a chapel which is there to this day. The “Chapel of the Transfiguration” was built to serve the employees of the local dude ranches in Moose, Wyoming. We visited it when we were there. It’s a rustic log cabin construction has a bell tower and wooden benches that seats about 60 people.
The main attraction of the “Chapel of the Transfiguration” is the large window behind the altar which provides parishioners with a full view of the Grand Tetons and is meant to inspire a visual object lesson of the glory that the disciples saw when they saw Jesus transfigured on the mountain.
No one is quite sure which mountain the Transfiguration took place on. One suggestion is Mount Hermon which rises to an altitude of 9000 feet above sea level. If that is true, it would mean that Jesus led the three up a mountain comparable to one of the Grand Tetons, which is quite the hike.
A more likely prospect is Mount Tabor, just south of the Sea of Galilee. The summit of Mt. Tabor is only 1000 feet in elevation which doesn’t sound like much of a mountain unless that area of the region of Galilee were like Nebraska or Iowa which would make it a sizeable mountain indeed. Continue reading