Monday, February 20, 2012

Invitation to Transformation

Monday, February 20, 2012 -- Week of Last Epiphany, Year Two
Frederick Douglass, Prophetic Witness, 1895

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 951)
Psalms 25 (morning)        9, 15 (evening)
Proverbs 27:1-6, 10-12
Philippians 2:1-13
John 18:15-18, 25-27

Spiritual growth and conversion is a process.  The Christian life is an invitation to an ongoing commitment to transformation.  We're not done with a single decision or experience.  Paul reminds us today to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."  Humbly, we are to take responsibility for our own spiritual growth.  It is comforting to know that "it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

Good sentiments on the cusp of Lent.  Lent is a time for the kind of humble self-reflection that yields penitence.  The invitation of Ash Wednesday coaxes us to recognize and embrace our mortality -- "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  The glare of impending death has a way of adjusting perspective.  Traditionally Christians have used these two days before Ash Wednesday as a time of personal inventory.  What are the destructive patterns in my life?  Where has the balance and priority in my life drifted toward?  How have I grieved God's Holy Spirit?  How have I betrayed my best self?  How have I failed others?

The reading from Philippians offers a model -- "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, ...emptied himself taking the form of a slave...  He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death."  That is a daunting example. 

We receive comfort from the gospel of John today.  We read of Peter's great failure at the crucial moment of decision, when he betrays Christ.  But we know the rest of the story.  Peter becomes the "Rock" on which Christ founds the church;  he becomes a courageous witness to the power of resurrection.  Peter is healed of his sin and betrayal, and of the cowardice that a guilty conscience can create. 

So we embrace the process of transformation:  
  • Seeing our calling to become like Christ 
  • Confident that it is God working in us to accomplish our transformation  
  • Humbly facing our weakness and failure 
  • Allowing the healing love of God to renew the Spirit within that will enable us "both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

Lowell

Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
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Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html --  Click for Divine Hours

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

2 Comments:

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 Peter 2:6 Peter acknowledges that Christ is the Rock, the cornerstone.

Peter means "pebble". Peter even said that "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the LIving God". Jesus then said on "this rock will I build my church" Jesus will build his church on the fact that HE is the son of the living God, not on Peter the little rock.

 
At 7:22 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Thanks for the post, Anon.

What wonderful work God does with the little foundation we may offer. A little pebble of faith can become something wonderful through God's grace.

Lowell

 

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