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To all my friends, and especially to those who know me best, thanks for your patience!
If I were to summarize Spiritual Wellbeing in one word, I’d call it TRANSFORMATION. Paul described the work of the Spirit in our lives through Word and Sacrament like this: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV).
Martin Luther talked about this in his Defense and Explanation of All the Articles, his response to the papal bull of 1521: “This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed” (LW vol. 34:24).
I have a favorite chair, an old stuffed rocker, that’s my sacred space for morning reading and prayer. My intention is to spend a half hour or so there daily and I keep my appointment almost every day. (There is grace, you know!) But after all these years, sometimes I wonder, “Why am I doing this? What’s the point?”
It seems so familiar. I confess the same sins. I struggle to learn to pray. I often read portions of the Word and think, “Huh?”
Maybe brother Martin was speaking to me when he said, “The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on.” Thank you, Lord!
And the amazing thing is that by the miracle of grace I can look back over the years and clearly see the transformative work of God’s Spirit in my life. I’ve been repeatedly taught, rebuked, corrected, trained in righteousness and “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV) by a patient and loving God who is not done with me yet.
Transformation. Luther was right. It’s a process, a journey. It’s another of our Lutheran paradoxes that I can say, “I was transformed suddenly, completely and instantaneously at my baptism,” and that I can also say, “Spiritual growth will be a life-long journey for me.” The journey has many twists and turns along the way, beautiful vistas where I see so clearly as well as setbacks and stumbles. That’s what journeys are like.
I know I’m not what I could be. I’m not what I want to be. And I’m certainly not what I should be, but I continually thank God that I’m not what I used to be! That’s grace. It’s transformation.
So I journey on by his grace. And along the way I make one ongoing request of all of my dear friends in Christ: P B P G I N F W M Y.
Thanks for reading.
Darrell Zimmerman, VP/Program Director
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