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11-22-19 - Catalysts for Transformation

(You can listen to this reflection here.)

As we end this week exploring Christ, our crucified King, let’s give a look to the second reading appointed for Sunday, a passage from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. It is dense in theology and rich in imagery. In fact, “image” is what Paul calls Jesus, the Son of God: 
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers – all things have been created through him and for him.

The image of the invisible God: making God visible. This is the heart of a Christian understanding of God’s love, that God did not remain aloof from an estranged humanity, but found a way for us to see and know God, now in part, and in greater fullness as we grow into the likeness of Christ. Christ is the image of the invisible God; we take on the image of the crucified and risen Christ… and thus we, made in God’s image, recover that likeness because Christ has made God known, and we can know Christ, who said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Does your head hurt yet?

"He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son." Rescued from the power of darkness. Transferred into the kingdom of his beloved Son. I think of refugees on the run, rescued and transferred into a safe realm.

Of course, it can look like darkness is still winning, and our rescue is delayed. As those who claim citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ, we have a mission, a responsibility, to shed light everywhere we can. Indeed, we are called to do more than shed light – we are called to be catalysts for transformation (the fourth part of our mission statement, on which the Christ Churches will reflect this Sunday).We are grains of yeast that cause flour and water to become dough that becomes bread that feeds the world. We are called to go beyond helping people to fostering their transformation, leveraging our resources and strength to release the resources and strength of many. We are called to go beyond meeting needs to catalyzing change that renders the need obsolete. We are called to participate with God in the work of transforming the world, one person at a time.

Paul has a prayer and a prescription for us: 
"May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light."

Today, in prayer, you might sit with that sentence.
Reflect on the places you feel weak; what does it feel like to accept the strength that comes from God’s glorious power? 
Reflect on the things you feel you have to endure; ask the Holy Spirit to give you the patience you have been promised as a spiritual gift.
Reflect on where joy is found lately, or might be found, and give thanks to that One who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

The saints in the light – that’s us. That’s our calling and our description, our hope and our destiny. And when we bring our light together, the darkness doesn’t stand a chance.

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