As A People Being Made Into The Image Of Christ
There is a legend—could it really be true?—a legend of a Quaker t-shirt that boasts, “More Christ-centered than thou.”
In his letter to the Christians in Rome, the Apostle Paul exhorts us still, “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith” (Romans 3:23,27 RSV).
Writing to the Christians at Colossae, Paul leads us to grasp our gift and call as believers to be conformed to the image of Christ as a body, as a community, as a people. We “have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator… Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and…above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body” (Colossians 3:10,12-13a,14-15 RSV).
We Friends throughout FUM have our cultural differences. We have our different perspectives. We have our different insights into our one Christian faith. We have our common temptation to see the sins and shortcomings of others, while we fail to see our own sins and the ways our own cultures are not true to the Gospel. Paul teaches that it is by practicing compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, not by boasting to one another, that we will become the people we have been born in Christ to be—a people being made into the image of Christ himself.
Query for Reflection
Have I followed the way of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience in relating with those of other tribes/clans/social perspectives/cultures, or have I boasted instead?
Reach out in compassion and patience to a Friend or group of Friends of a different ethnicity or social perspective from your own, trusting Christ to guide you in new ways to appreciate their faith rather than boast about your own.
In Christ we have put on the new nature. Renew us, dear Lord, in knowledge and grace, making us into a people in your own image.