A Message from the Pastor
Transformation…changing from one thing into another. The best example from nature I suppose would be a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. There are of course less dramatic examples such as maple trees going from looking as though they’re dead coming to life and being covered in leaves as spring arrives.
Transformation…going from something that’s undesirable to something that’s beautiful or desirable is one of those things we like to see or hear about, like stories of people who were able to beat an addiction of some sort and then go on to lead a solid, honorable, productive life.
Rags to riches. Who doesn’t love hearing about someone who was down on their luck, who only had a couple of dollars in their pocket, then go on to become super successful, to own their own company or some such thing.
Or how about stories of true transformation…those going from being unbelievers heading for damnation to becoming saved believers on a journey to heaven.
Actually, if you do an internet search on any of these topics, you’ll find story after amazing story of lives transformed, of people who were literally at the end of their ropes, financially, physically, spiritually, who were able to transcend their hopeless situation. But here is something I noticed; a close examination will always reveal that it took the outstretched hand of another person for these people to rise above their situation.
The reality is, there are actually no “self-made” rags-to-riches anybody…there was always someone else…someone who took an interest or who showed empathy…a person who interceded that eventually made the difference in the life of these individuals.
Transformation…near the end of this month in the church, we will hear about it, sing about it, and celebrate it…but not just any transformation…it will be our Lord’s transfiguration that we will remember. But our life in the Church is also about our own transformation, from being condemned people who have been changed, into God’s children. As we approach Ash Wednesday on February 26th we will again hear about how much Jesus loves and cares for you, enough to have interceded on your behalf, so that, you too would have a “rags-to-riches” story all your own. The story about how through Jesus, you’ve inherited heaven.
However, transformation isn’t always obvious or glorious. Take the repentant thief on the cross on Good Friday. To those passing by, he almost certainly didn’t look any different than he did when he was first nailed to the cross earlier that morning. To those he’d wronged, he still looked like a poor miserable sinner who was suffering and dying…being justly punished for his sins…as he freely admitted. Yet, by three that afternoon, he had been dramatically transformed, changed, from being a damned sinner, to being a forgiven, saved saint, who at this very moment resides with God in glory.
Why? Because he came to believe that Jesus was who he said he was…the Christ…our Savior from sin and eternal damnation and it wasn’t because he’d seen Jesus transfigured, but because a bleeding, dying Jesus, was willing to forgive, even those who swung the hammers that drove the nails through his hands and feet.
And it was to this man…who wore a crown made of thorns…that he asked a simple favor, “Remember me.” If you likewise ask this of Jesus, he will remember you too every moment of your life and at the moment of your passing from this life and into the life to come that has no end.
Until next month….