Transformed by Love – Reflection for 3 September 2017
In our epistle lesson, Paul asks us to be transformed in worship to see things according to the will of God rather than the deceptions of the world. In our Gospel, Jesus admonishes Peter to not set his mind on the things of man but rather to seek the things of God. These sound like great goals, but sometimes they just seem impossible. How can we live into these Biblical directives?
Fortunately, our liturgy guides us. I recently read Ashley Null’s account of how Thomas Cranmer’s theology guided the development of our Book of Common Prayer. According to Null, Cranmer saw our understanding of the love of God for us even in the midst of our unworthiness as the most important aspect of our faith. Null writes of Cranmer’s theology, “Cranmer conceived of God’s work in the world as changing human wills, not human worthiness, and he believed God did so by loving the unworthy elect so unconditionally as to inspire in them a reciprocal love for him and others.” Null then concludes that Cranmer crafted our liturgy for Holy Communion to weave together the great themes of God declaring his love for us in Christ, our transformation in turning toward God, our fellowship in the body of Christ, and our call to a life of love for God and others. He grounds all of this in a setting which clarifies that the only source for worship is faith in God’s incomprehensible sacrificial love for the unworthy.
As we come to the Lord’s Table today, I invite you to take your mind off of all the worries, fears, doubts, and shortcomings that dominate the busyness of our lives. Set your mind upon the gracious love of God for each of us. As Paul invites us, place all of your inadequacy and brokenness before God as a living sacrifice. Be transformed by the knowledge and experience of the love of God.
As we depart from worship today, I invite you to consider who God is calling you to love even when they are unworthy of love. Remembering that Christ loved us even to the point of death on the cross even in the midst of our own unworthiness, how will you take up your cross and love the people around you?