Written by clergy and lay people across our Diocesan community, ‘Sunday Devotions’ is a column of short reflections based on a Lectionary reading of the day, suitable for small group discussion or personal use.
Main Readings: Exodus 1.8-2.10; Psalm 124; Romans 12.1-8; Matthew 16.13-20; [Isaiah 51.1-6; Psalm 138]
Supplementary Readings: Psalm 72; Matthew 16.1-12; Genesis 50.15 to Exodus 1.7; Psalm 138; Romans 11.28-36
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12.2)
I recently roughed it and ‘slept’ under a bridge as part of a fund- and awareness raiser for homelessness. Someone who had journeyed through homelessness commented to me, “We are living in a world of harsh inequalities and structures.” My brief night in the cold, along with these confronting words, challenged the patterns that the world has taught me to hold dear and strive to conform to.
When Paul says, “this world”, it contrasts with the promise of heaven. Not conforming to the patterns of this world requires our minds to be fixed on the promise of heaven. It requires our actions to be a living sacrifice pleasing to God. That doesn’t just mean giving stuff up for God. It means sacrificing and sharing stuff with the people of God, including finance, time, belongings, personal preferences and security.
Paul goes on to say that we are a body of many gifts and functions. We are to use these with humility and sober self-evaluation. If we are to truly be one body, each member belonging to the others, we need to be radically transformed from the patterns of this world.
It means sharing life and sharing in life. This is our true and proper worship.