Words from Tom 11-4-14
“Holy Spirit, power of God, transform me, your new creation.” This sentence completes my Trinitarian Prayer that has been a constant companion for me since my sabbatical of 2006. As I have reflected in the previous two Grapevines, each one of these phrases has been significant to me. “Abba, God, Creator, I bow down and worship you” begins with an appropriate attitude toward God. It emphasizes the first priority in our life is to worship God. “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner” leads us to confess who we are and enables us to experience the gracious mercy that God has for us.
This third sentence encourages us to open ourselves to the transforming power of God. I wrote last time about God’s relentless desire to reconcile us — that God’s steadfast love endures forever; it never ceases. As we recognize our need for God’s mercy in our lives, we also acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves. It is the transforming power of God’s Holy Spirit that enables us to become the new creation that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 5:16ff. When we are in Christ we are a new creation.
While the initial awareness of our need for Christ was a dawning awakening that quickened our senses, lifted up our spirits, and gave us much to celebrate, there continues to be an abiding recognition that our conversion was not instantaneously completed. While we may be able to note the exact moment when we invited Christ into our lives, and can chronicle the changes it created in us and for us, the creative process continues.
Whether one believes the earth to be billions of years old, or only thousands of years old, there continue to be creative forces at work in volcanic activity, in tectonic plates continuing to shift, in species adaptations taking place. We can discuss whether some of these changes are the result of man-made changes or natural occurrences, but we cannot deny that they are occurring. As it is with our physical world (which we believe to be God-made) so it is with our spiritual realm. We are continuing to be made into part of God’s “new creation.” Paul, in the passage referred to earlier, even goes so far as to say that we know Jesus differently than we formerly did!
So our lives are still being transformed. We have not yet arrived. We are still in need for further work by God’s Spirit. But we are not filled with despair that the process is taking so long, or seems so slow, or is more difficult that we had originally expected. No, we are buoyed by the continuing work of God’s Spirit in our lives. Here we see the manifestation of God’s relentless persistence.
Our lives are to revolve around the God who made us, we are redeemed by the Christ who gave himself for us, and we are being transformed by the Spirit that enables us to realize our God-given potential.
Abba, God, Creator, I bow and worship you.
Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Holy Spirit, power of God, transform me, your new creation.