Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sept. 3, 2006--Reflections of Christ

Note: Post taken from loose outline notes of the pastor. Actual delivered sermon may have varied.

Text: Matthew 5:15-6, Galatians 2:20

Our destiny is not in being ourselves, as the world defines it, but in fact in casting off that false notion of just being us, our human nature, and instead being reflections of Christ. It is not when we find ourselves, as it were, but when we find Christ that we reveal what we are truly to be. When we reflect Christ's image, that is when ouir true selves come out.

If we have read the New Testament right, it leaves no room for "freelancing" even in a modified or theoretical way. Our whole destiny seems to lie in the opposite direction, in being as little as possible ourselves, in acquiring a fragrance that is not our own but borrowed, in becoming clean mirrors filled with the image of a face that is not ours, but in fact is the best image ever. Everything else that is inherently ours, that human nature of pride and such, is like so much dust which clouds and lowers the image, lowers its radiance.

Pride does not only go before a fall, but in fact is a fall itself--a fall from our attention to what is better, ie God, perfection; to what is worse, our own selves, our baser needs.

Unbelievers take their experience and temperment just as they happen to stand, on face level. They consider them worth discussing because they are facts, or worse still, because they are theirs. To the Christian, his own termperament and experience, as mere fact or simply because they are there, is of no value or importance whatsoever. We deal with them only because it was through them that something more universally Blessed or Profitable appeared to us.

We can imagine two men seated in diffferent parts of a theater. Both, when they come out, will tell us their experiences, and both may use the first person. But the one is interested in his seat only because it was his--"I was most uncomfortable," he will say. "You would hardly believe what a draft comes from the door in that corner. And the people! I had to speak pretty mean to the woman in front of me." The other, more Christ centered, or more other driven, will tell us what could be seen from his seat, choosing to describe this becasue this is what he knows, and because every seat must give the best view of something. See, that is being tolerant, being vigilant, being open to what God reveals, and less concerned with what others are doing and what it does for you. " Do You know," he will begin,"the molding on those pillars goes on round the back. It looks, too, as if the design on the back were the older of the two." Here we have the expressionist and the Christian attitudes toward the self or the temperament. One can't see the forest for the trees, and the other takes it all in, from different angles, and reflects it back for the greater glory of the Creator.

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