Transfiguring the Family

At the OPF conference last June, I joked that no one need attend the workshop I was facilitating on “Peace in the Family” because we all know such a thing is impossible. Although I said this tongue in cheek, I also said it with some sadness. Each of us is born with the innate desire for family, and most of us are born into families, though not all. We want our families to be havens of nurturing, healing and unconditional love. Yet often this is not what we get. Christ himself was born into a rather strange family, it certainly was not the carefully planned family that has become the ideal today.

The sometimes hard and lonely truth is that we may need to drop the word “ideal” when we speak of family, and instead use a different word, “transfigured.”

This is what this issue of In Communion is about. It is my prayer that as you read these essays you will find tools to help you work for transfiguration in whatever family situation you find yourself. To be transfigured means to have a metamorphosis, or a radical change, as from darkness to light or grief to joy. Let us find joy in the good there is in our families, and find hope in that the family, the locus of birth, can be reborn itself. “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation.” (I Corinthians 5:17a)

— Renee Zitzloff, associate editor, In Communion

The image is from a Byzantine marriage belt made in Constantinople in the sixth or seventh century; from John Meyendorff’s book, Marriage (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press); the Greek inscription means, “From God, concord, grave and health.”