In-Sight: Transformation #1

In Christianity, we speak often of transformation.  We believe in conversion.  Conversion is essentially a 180° turn from something toward a new something.  In broad terms, it is the turning from sin to salvation.

Within this overarching concept, there are many little conversions which are necessary to keep the overall transformation process alive and maturing.  I have found the writing of Jean Vanier to offer a significant call to many of these.  In a three-part series, I will explore several–all of which we see reflected in Jesus, and which Vanier’s L’Arch communities seek to incarnate.

Today,  the conversion that moves us from power to humility.  We might call this the transformation of position.

The worst thing about power is not its potential for destructiveness (bad as that is), but rather that when we have power, the ego engages in a never-ending quest to hold on to it.  Life becomes a competition, and community deteriorates into a contest between and among partisan groups. 

Converted to humility, we not only recognize the value of all, we realize we can never be fully ourselves when anyone is viewed as “less than” in the human family.  We are transformed and given eyes to see what Paul said, we do not live for ourselves only, but also for God and others (Rom 14:8).

Transformed into humility, we shift the flow from consumption to service.  Others are not merely here for us, we are here for others.  We move toward everyone, knowing that at some point there will be something we are called to do for them and/or receive from them. And as we extend our hands and hearts to others, we find that they fill them even as we are trying to do good to them.

The transformation into humility quite simply means that we are all enriched in the process of seeking to enrich others.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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