"Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God." (emphasis added) - Colossians 3:3
When we're looking for words to describe the life of faith a favorite is "growth." We speak often of "growing in faith" or "growing in Christ," "growing in understanding," or "growing in giving," etc. "Growth" is good, right?
A case could be made that the truest images and metaphors of change in Scripture aren't about growth. They are about something wilder, more dramatic, wondrous and hard.
They are about death, death and life. As in this verse from Colossians, where Paul just so starkly lays it out, "you have died."
Is he nuts? What does that mean? And is this something we're supposed to want? Gimme growth any day - gradual, continual, steady, slow, "day by day, in every way," a project I can do.
Or not? Maybe there's a place for the drastic? For transformation not tweaking? A place and a time for, "you have died." For hearing that the life you knew, the you that you have been, that world you so fitfully inhabited - that's done now. You have died to that. You are a new creation. In Christ.
Growth makes sense. Everyone is for it. Death and new life make no sense. No one wants it. No one but everyone. This we want most of all. "You have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God."
Help me, dear God, not to settle for tweaking when transformation is the business you're in. Amen.
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.