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Monday, September 24, 2012

becoming, day 1

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
God of our creation and re-creation, you who are constantly at work to shape me in the wholeness of Christ, you know the hardness of the structures of my being that resist your shaping touch.  You know the deep inner rigidities of my being that reject your changing grace.  By your grace soften my hardness and rigidity; help me to become pliable in your hands.  Even as I pray this, may there be a melting of my innate resistance to your transforming love.  Amen. (Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 37

Scripture for the Day: Romans 12:1-21

Reading for Reflection:

The desire for transformation lies deep in every human heart.  This is why people enter therapy, join health clubs, get into recovery groups, read self-help books, attend motivational seminars, and make New Year’s resolutions.  The possibility of transformation is the essence of hope.  Psychologist Aaron Beck says that the single belief most toxic to a relationship is the belief that the other person cannot change.
     This little word morph has a long history.  It actually comes from one of the richest Greek words in the New Testament, and in a sense this little word is the foundation of this whole book.  Morphoo means “the inward and real formation of the essential nature of a person.”  It was a term used to describe the formation and growth of an embryo in a mother’s body.
     Paul used this word in his letter to the Galatians: “…until Christ is formed in you.”  He agonized until Christ should be born in those people, until they should express his character and goodness in their whole being.  Paul said they—like us—are in a kind of spiritual gestation process.  We are pregnant with possibilities of spiritual growth and moral beauty so great that they cannot be adequately described as anything less than the formation of Christ in our very lives.
     Paul used another form of this word when he told the Christians in Rome that God had predestined them to be “conformed to the image of his Son.”  This word, summorphizo, means to have the same form as another, to shape a thing into a durable likeness.  Spiritual growth is a molding process: We are to be to Christ as an image is to the original.
     Still another form of the word appears in Romans when Paul says we are not to be conformed to the world around us but “transformed by the renewing of your minds.”  This word is metamorphoo, from which comes the English word metamorphosis.  A creeping caterpillar is transformed into a soaring butterfly—yet as the children of God we are to undergo a change that makes that one barely noticeable.
     When morphing happens, I don’t just do the things Jesus would have done; I find myself wanting to do them.  They appeal to me.  They make sense.  I don’t just go around trying to do right things; I become the right sort of person. (The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: May the Mind of Christ, My Savior

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God, my Father,
Rule my life in everything.
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me,
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self-abasing
This is victory.

Closing Prayer:
Father, forgive us when we think that life is more about what we are doing than about who we are becoming.  Help us to remember that more than anything else you want our hearts.  Allow us to give them to you fully, that we might receive yours in return; changing us more into the likeness your Son Jesus.  In His name we pray.  Amen.  (JLB)

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