Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Lent Bible Challenge | Day 6
March 3
Luke 3:1-22

The first encounter with the "grown up" Jesus is actually an experience of the radical calling-out-of life to new life from the John the Baptiser, calling everyone to change through conversion and baptism. It makes me think of several encounters of my own from yesterday.

1. We all fall short (as Paul says in Romans 3). We all are broken. In reading an article in the New Yorker [the Ponzi State] about the real estate/bank bust I'm reminded that we all wanted more than was possible in the past years: housing values that increased without effort, soaring profits from our sales/investments, purchasing what we can't really afford, having more and more money to buy more and more things and live the good life. It can't last forever for it's not real life. We have to change: as individuals, communities, nations and a global community. How we've been living isn't sustainable. We have to change - not just a little but in a conversion (which literally means to turn 180 degrees around and head in the opposite direction) sort of life transformation.

2. Change is a process. We're not always conscious of how far we've come. I learned about this Continuum of Change: a way of understanding all change. At first we're conscious of how we need/want to change and unskilled at it. Gradually, through work we gain skill at it while conscious of our lack of mastery, then eventually become skilled at it and unconscious of it - the new skill becomes "second nature". Think of riding a bike. In the end maybe that's what conversion - choosing a new way of life by following Christ - is like.

We're called in and by Christ to change not for change's sake but our own as individuals and a gathered community. Rather this conversion - or radical re-orientation of life - is what they prophecies/poems of Zachariah, Mary, Simeon and Anna (that we say in Luke 1 & 2) are pointing to this need for new ways of living - not just for someone else, but for us also - for all of us. In a sense that's what Lent is about - being purposeful in our reflecting during these 40 days about who and how we are - and who and how God is calling us to be.

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