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Archive for June 21st, 2022

Shallowly Formed

MEDITATION:

Written by Rich Villodas, a contemporary pastor and author.  This is an excerpt from his book “The Deeply Formed Life.”

On the upper decks of the Titanic, there was amazing luxury—conspicuous opulence and riches. In stark contrast were the lower decks, where poverty-stricken passengers resided. A few days after the Titanic sailed, it struck an iceberg, and disaster was shared by all on board, no matter their socioeconomic status…For those up on top, there was a tragic obliviousness. Everything still looked magnificent immediately after the iceberg struck; life was great. But on the lower level, where the iceberg hit, it was a different story. Soon enough, the issues (the water) of the lower level began to rise to the upper deck. The Titanic broke up and was consumed by the icy depths. You can see the metaphor: sooner or later the issues on life’s lower decks, though we remain oblivious, will rise to the top. Truthfully, there are many with us (in our families, churches, schools, and workplaces) who are in the same boat, all unwittingly in danger of being broken up and sucked down. In fact, it often can feel as though our entire world is going under. Pushing the metaphor a bit further, on the upper decks of our social media lives, things can also look great – impressive, even. We like to put ourselves forward as competent, capable people. But as a pastor, I’ve repeatedly seen the truth behind the images we carefully curate…Topside people can look so content, joyful, and successful, but privately beneath they’ll confess suicidal thoughts, drug addictions, marital affairs, debilitating shame, inner rage, and so much more—I see the icy waters rising. It’s a wake-up call…It is in those very lower decks where our spiritual lives take true shape and texture. But notoriously, we won’t take time to go deep down within because we have often been discipled into superficiality—and in the name of Jesus no less. This superficiality works against us as we try to navigate some of the most complex issues of our world, whether related to our emotional health or the complexities of race, sexuality, and justice. How are we to experience wholeness in our own personal lives while being instruments of healing in a world that is breaking apart around us? To start, we must live in a different place. We have to go down to the lower decks…Jesus wants to transform our entire beings, not just the part that shows. Yet Christianity in the Western world is often marginalized as a life accessory rather than the means of powerful life transformation…The work God wants to do in us requires us to look within: to look deeper and be deeply formed. Because we are covertly and consistently being formed by a culture fashioned by shallowness. We are being shallowly formed…by our false selves, our families of origin, the manipulated presentations of social media, and the value system of a world that determines worth based on accomplishments, possessions, efficiency, intellectual acumen, and gifts. We need to be regularly called back to the essence of our lives in God…Christ being formed in us.

PRAYER:

Written by Jane Holloway, the National Prayer Director of  the World Prayer Centre in Birmingham, England.

Holy God, our only hope is in You. We thank you for the past, trust you for today and believe for the future; that all Your promises will come to pass so we can rest forever in Your love. Amen.

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