By the Holy Spirit in the waters of baptism, you are called to be a reflection of God in Jesus Christ.
By the forgiving presence of Jesus in bread and wine, the whole church has been called, collectively, to be the body of Jesus.
In the last six weeks, All Saints’ worship celebrated a diverse, biblical theme, “Images of Faith.” With the mustard seed, the loaves and fishes, and taking a step onto a stormy sea–every person is an image of faith too.
You are a reflection. You are called to embrace that truth.
Maybe “reflection” is a hard word for you. Who doesn’t have a complicated relationship with who they see reflected in the mirror?
Consider this as one way to practice embracing the truth that you are a reflection of Jesus. Say to your reflection, in response to those inner and outer voices of criticism: “You are my child, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
The voice of God spoke those words when Jesus was baptized. When you were baptized into Christ, the Spirit of God repeated those words for your sake–whispering gently in your heart and shouting proudly from the heavens.
You are a reflection. That was done already by Jesus on the cross. What you are called to is living like you believe it. This is really hard. No one can do it alone.
Thanks be to God, no one is alone! Worship bathes unbelievers again in the gracious and forgiving truth of God in Jesus. And in the coming weeks, worship at All Saints will change to reflect from another angle the love of God.
For one, worshipers will confess and receive forgiveness sooner in the service. So it will be like a first response to the song of God reflected in the songs sung by people. Worshipers get to encounter God’s loving Word and Meal freed from the burden of sin. How will this open you to the loving truth that you already reflect Jesus?
Worshipers will not speak a creed, like the Apostles Creed. Many who are new to or returning to the faith experience traditional creeds as a litmus test for belief that they fail. “I can’t belong, if I can’t agree to this list of religious ideas.” Many long in the faith experience creeds as a rejoicing of their hearts. And yet, in these weeks, All Saints’ worship invites forbearance.
Worshipers will also not chant or hear a psalm in these weeks. Consider the absence of an outwardly prayed psalm or creed as an opportunity to pray inwardly. Take up the words of the weekly psalm or Apostles Creed during the week, the worship prelude, or any other moment of stillness. Intimacy with these sacred words may deepen your experience of them and open new possibilities for embracing the truth that you indeed are a reflection of God.
“Called to be a reflection.” Feel free to take this theme another way: you are called to be. Simply be. Who you are. Who God made you to be. Together with all the saints. A reflection of deep and abiding love.
Amen. May it be so.