Thursday, September 29, 2005

Some days I don't want to be clay

Some days, I don't want to be the clay. The clay gets pinched. The clay gets squeezed. The clay gets molded, and even sometimes cut. I've heard for years, that as the body of Christ, we are called to be His hands and feet, to allow Him to live His life through us, and that we are called to yield to the process of being transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. Sometimes I approach this process with great passion. Sometimes I want to run in the opposite direction. And then sometimes, I want to flop down on the floor like a stubborn child, poke my lip out and say "no." Sometimes I don't want to be clay. Sometimes I don't want to be Jesus with skin on, His hands and feet... Sometimes I don't want to think one more thought about poverty, racism, or any of the other "isms" our society is infected with. Sometimes I don’t want to think about anything more serious than whether to cut my sandwich on the diagonal or straight across.

We talk about being transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. But which image are we speaking of? Is it the image of a son so submitted to the will of His father that he was willing to become a helpless infant in the hands of strangers? Or is it the bruised and battered Jesus, spit on, despised and rejected of men? What about the victorious Jesus, returning on a white horse? How about the image of Jesus kneeling in agonized prayer in the garden asking, “Father if..,” Can we choose which Jesus we become? I suspect that just as all of these images and so many others are all parts of the whole, we have to experience all of these aspects of Jesus as parts of our whole experience of being transformed into His image and likeness. And when I go through my “garden” experiences in the process of transformation, I am so glad that the Bible doesn’t try to clean up the story for the more “sensitive viewing audience.” I’m glad that it records that Jesus whispered an “if”. I’m glad that it tells the truth that there were moments when Jesus didn’t want to be the clay.

12 comments:

Constantine said...

This is heavy. Must transformation be so "monastic" in quality? I'm not asking rhetorically, but out of curiosity.

voixdange said...

Not that I have an answer for that one C., but I would still like to hear what you mean by "monastic".

olympiada said...

I like this Ange. Never mind Connie. This is good. This is deep. This is heavy. No we can not choose what God does with us. This is the whole point of submission, Connie, submission. You submit to God, your wife submits to you.
I am going to my first AA meeting for me tonight, that is how God is shaping me. I am tired of pointing the finger at the man. It is time I look at me.

Constantine said...

Mi Amiga,

Monastic as in sacrificial in nature, even ascetic (see the Philokolia as a text that promotes this ideal). Taking on the mindset of a monastic rule if you will--unselfing the “self” and taking up your cross and practicing self-denial. There’s an element of harshness that attends this working out of salvation with fear and trembling. My concern is that some folks like to use this as an excuse (even quote scripture to make their point) that suffering is a desired state. Believe me mi amiga, I’m as far from the lunacy of the “health & wealth gospel” as you can get, but I also feel that sometimes we are called to enjoy this life more abundantly without equating that to the freakish notions of the “prosperity gospel.”

I do indeed believe in the value of sacrifice and would even say that it is written into the way of things as we know and experience life. BUT…much that is identified as suffering and evil is just that, suffering and evil, and I can’t believe nor even imagine it has any purpose in God’s plan but is just the sad and unfortunate consequence of our corporate fallen nature (Original Sin). Sure, God can use anything as a means to redemption, but I’m cautious to label all suffering and struggle as just another call to “take up your cross.”

Oly,

I'll be damned (maybe literally if your notion of submission is correct) if I will submitt as a function of the standard definition. When I go to church or read scripture or other lesser sacred texts I intend to fully keep my thinking cap on instead of hanging it up at the entrance.

voixdange said...

I am glad I asled you to clarify, C, because I think I agree with you, if I am reading you correctly. I can only speak for myself, but it seems like I go through different seasons in my walk. There are periods that are very joyous, but there are also other seasons that are not so wonderful. Things have been a wee bit rough for me over the last few weekssince school started. For whatever reason it seems as if chaos has surrounded the start of every new quarter and I have a ways to go yet...
But as I stated, I think all of the aspects of Christ life are meant to be part of our experience, the joyous and the painful ones. Actually I was thinking that your question would make a great post.

olympiada said...

C, you think submission requires not thinking? Hardy har har. NOT! Submission requires giving up our will baby, our will, to God! Ever heard of the 3rd step?

Constantine said...

And just what does submission look like Oly? Letting someone (a husband, a Priest, a church, a social structure, etc.) run roughshod over you (plural)? Is it not usually these very people and institutions that demand submission in the name of God and claim authority from God, in affect saying that unless you yield to "me" you're not following the will of God? I am a member of a Church (Roman Catholic) that says basically all that do not submit to the Chair of Peter are not doing the will of God. Do you submit to Rome Oly? What is God’s will and who defines it categorically? Are we to take the words of St. Paul to Philemon and say slaves should submit to their masters? Like I said before, I’ll be damned before I bow in humble submission to anyone before I think it through and have a damn good reason for it. Yielding is one thing, but wholesale submission to an “agent/regent” of God is another thing altogether!

voixdange said...

Oly & C, do I have to put you two in time out? ha ha

Oly, I wasn't really responding to your debate with C about submission with my last answer. With school and all of the trama/drama of the last week I have a limited capacity for debates right now. But I would say that in some respects both of you are right. But the submission isn't to man, but to God. Sometimes God will call us into submission to man. If we are sensitive to His voice we will lead us to where He needs us to be, and when something isn't kosher, He will let us know. But I think the problem with submission is that we have become so insensitve to the Holy Spirit many times we allow others to do our "discerning/thinking" for us. There are no short cuts in building a relationship with Christ that enables us to be sensitive to His voice.
But a more practical example...
Several years ago I felt God speaking to me. He kept telling me over and over that my pastor would ask me to do something I didn't want to do, and that I was to do it anyway. Within about a month something happened that did not sit well with me at all. My pastor came and spoke to me about it, knowing I was struggling with it. He didn't pressure me, he didn't demand obedience, he just told me to pray about it, but as he was speaking it was as if, I can't even explain it really...I knew this was what God had been preparing me for. So I did submit. I would like to tell you it has been easy, but that would not be true, but my submission is to God, my pastor is really just a secondary party in it. And now looking back I'm glad I did.

Constantine said...

Grin. I'll be a good boy now. I promise. Nice answer btw Angevoix.

olympiada said...

C, I DO NOT submit to Rome!
What is God's will? My priest can not say.
Who defines it categorically? I do not know. I should ask my priest.
Would you like the address of my biblical studies group where you can address that question about Philemon?
I know what you speak of. It has been misused by slavemasters. Would you like the website of my godfather to speak to him about this?
C, we are not disagreeing at all. I agree with you entirely!

sonoftheprodigal said...

I must thank you for this wonderful reflection. It's beautiful.

voixdange said...

Thank you, and thank you for posting your comment. I needed to read this post again, and I needed it today.