Imitating Christ requires significant humility and sacrifice. I’m always tempted to skip to the parts at the end about the “body of his glory.” Glory in Christ, however, is attainable only by way of a cross.
A common misconception is that Christ’s saving death on the cross means that we will be saved from all suffering. Instead, it is an invitation to use our lives in imitation of Christlike love for the world. We are called to use our lives, privilege, and hands in self-offering service to others.
I think of a pastor in San Diego who literally opened his church to new immigrants detained at the US-Mexico border awaiting hearing as they sought asylum. Someone took a photo of him during the foot-washing portion of the Holy Thursday worship service. The man whose feet he was washing had a digital tracking device on his ankle. He had to wear it until his hearing.
I think of a family in my church who have just welcomed newborn twins into their home temporarily, expanding their household and hearts again as foster parents. Their expansive love keeps growing more spacious, with room for everyone.
I think of the persistence of a woman at my former church who crocheted shawls for all one hundred participants in a retreat for adults with HIV/AIDS, ensuring that each person would receive a handmade gift that they could wrap around themselves like love.
There are countless ways we can offer ourselves, pouring out love into a world of so much brokenness. The call of the cross is to choose this way of living that gives of ourselves for others.
Christ of the cross, give me courage to imitate your deep love for the world. Amen.
This week’s readings give witness to God’s ways and provide confidence and hope in our faith. In Genesis we read of God’s promise to Abram, a promise that seems very unlikely to a man with no children. But God seals the covenant, and the story later shows that God never breaks God’s promises. The psalmist, even while mired in conflict, praises God for being his light, his salvation, his stronghold. The psalmist longs to be in God’s presence forever, a desire that can inspire all of us as believers. Paul says that in the future reality, we will no longer experience resistance from those who oppose God. One day Christ will fully transform us to our citizenship in heaven. Jesus himself experienced resistance even in Jerusalem, yet he ultimately triumphed, as will all those who trust in God.
Read Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18. How can you take a step forward in the dark toward God’s seemingly impossible promises for the future?
Read Psalm 27. Recall a time when you waited in the shadows of your life. What did you learn about God’s provision during this time?
Read Philippians 3:17–4:1. How do you live in the paradox of standing firm in faith by being vulnerable?
Read Luke 13:31-35. When have you been unwilling to accept love? How can you comprehend the depth and yearning of God’s love for you?
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