In thinking on tomorrow's sermon about finding abundance in the midst of scarcity I was reviewing this column I wrote for the local paper a couple months age. I think it speaks to how we redefine our lives so we can see the abundance. Or maybe it doesn't, I'm not sure...
What’s it all about?
Turns out it may not be about getting to heaven after all.
When I was a child I understood Christianity this way. God wanted us to behave in certain ways. God was always watching us and keeping track. If we were “good enough” we went to heaven when we died. Turns out I was missing the main point.
As a young adult I was told that the secret to being a true Christian was to accept all of the above plus to be able to say the “right” words as a statement of faith. And still I was missing the point.
Christian faith is not mainly about what happens after we die. We believe that there is something beyond this life but it is not the main focus. Nor is Christian faith about saying the right words. Being a faithful Christian is all about allowing ourselves to be changed, transformed, by God’s presence in our lives. The life of faith is about restructuring our priorities and our lives so that they are more in line with God’s. And this, it turns out, is harder than doing the right thing and saying the right words.
Allowing ourselves to be transformed means we give up control. It means we let ourselves and our lives be changed without knowing what the end result will be. And which one of us is the first to sign up for something like that? But here is the good news. When we let ourselves go, when we embrace (even to a small degree) the transforming power of the Spirit, our lives improve.
Let’s be honest. No amount of faith or religion will put money in our pocket (although it may well take some out). Faith will not get us a new car or a faster boat. But God’s transformation does hold the promise of better relationships with our selves, our loved ones, with the Source of Being and this leads to more contentment than a car or boat ever will. God’s transformation leads to a changed sense of what is important. God’s transformation leads, almost inevitably, to treating our neighbours better not because we are trying to win brownie points for some heavenly reward but because we know it to be the right thing to do.
Being transformed will undoubtedly challenge us to let go of some things. It will push us to rethink old attitudes and ideas. Being transformed is an ongoing, never ending process. But being transformed is at the heart of becoming a Christ-one. The life of faith is all about how we live today, here, now. Being faithful means making changes in how we treat each other, the world around us, and our selves. God is asking you to be transformed. Will you accept?