Thursday, January 29, 2009
Time for Change
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
COMMENT: Change - it has become a popular political mantra these days. We want change... all of us need change... we dare to hope for change - even in a system as resistant to change as Washington politics (or church politics, for that matter)...
But the change we need does not come from the outside. It does not come in the form of a newly elected political leader. It does not come from new policies, new programs, or new promises. Change (as Paul wrote to the Corinthians) comes from within - through the transforming work of God's Spirit (and note the passive form of the verb - we are being changed or transformed - God's action working upon and within us).
It is Spirit-change that turns consumers and hoarders (that is the American way) into givers. It is Spirit-change that transforms people who want to be served into people who are servants. It is Spirit-change that makes a person love someone whose skin color is different, someone who strikes out at you in malice, even someone who threatens your very sense of security.
The change the Spirit produces in us makes us more and more like Jesus - meek and lowly in spirit instead of proud and arrogant... more like Jesus, who was full of compassion that moved him to action rather than the words and talk that comes so cheap... more like Jesus, who led by hope instead of fear, calling forth the best in us rather than the worst in us.
The church should ever be the carrier of this true message of change. Yet strangely, too often we have chosen the broad road that leads to destruction. The time for arrogance is over (you would think the religious right would realize that after the failed 20 years of their reign, but already you see and hear their arrogance resurging as they lambast the current administration)... The time for cheap talk is over (again, the church, as change agent, must be on the front lines of confronting the challenges of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and care for the displaced in our society), the time for fear-mongering and pessimism is over (yes, we can and must make realistic assessments of the present crisis, but God's people also know from our history that in these times of crisis, we are not alone and God's purposes will prevail).
I want to be a change agent - but that is only possible as I open my life up to The Change Agent, and allow the transforming Spirit of God to humble me, move me out beyond my words and into action, and fill me with hope (which energizes) rather than fear (which destroys).
Change my heart, O God, make it ever true. Change my heart, O God, may I be like you. You are the Potter, I am the clay... Mold me and make me, this is what I pray.
Soli Deo gloria