With the abundance of major home repairs that have cascaded over us this month, we are faced with the choices of what to put on the back burner and save for another day. Seems like last year was the year to replace existing autos, while this year, we are down to have-to jobs: new AC coils, extensive new drain lines, replacing rusted doors, and a new apron for the drive, something put on hold for years.
So it will feel good to have this stuff completed, with always more that could be done for the future. If you think this is parabolic of the spiritual life, just remember the times you have heard "makeover" over the last year or two. The fact is, we find the idea enticing.
The church talks a great deal about transformation. I wonder how much of that word is more about makeovers that we can see than about the realm of God's reign, which we often cannot or do not see. Jesus' seed parables in Mark 4 point to our reactions and resistance with wanting God's rule (4:1-20), how it happens apart from our own control and recognition (4:26-29), and that in its beginnings, size DOES NOT matter (4: 30-34).
The temptation in church life is to have the one answer that will fix everything, such as a new mission statement, strategic plan, or consultant. In the spiritual life, the lures work the same way- what is the one thing that will repair- renovate- my spirit?
The famous physician and endocrinologist Hans Selye, noted that nature loves diversity. And so it is in the spiritual life. There are many practices that will provide strength and hope for your journey. But it is a gradual transformation more than a makeover. The journey to God is also with God.
Selye's book, The Stress of Life is worth picking up. It's a classic in the physiology of stress reaction.
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