Thought For The Week - Imitation And Transformation
Words by Bev Jones
Imitation and Transformation
Some years ago, as I was walking, I became aware of a couple behind me – obviously a mother and son out for a walk and discussing the fact that the son had just been offered his first job – in the Fire Service.
His mother was offering her pearls of wisdom for his new career, and as he was obviously following in his father’s footsteps, she was telling him how his father had got on in the Fire Service. Her words of advice were to do as his dad had done, and watch carefully the actions of his superiors.
She advised him to watch what they did, how they acted, and how they treated and spoke to people – what they said, and didn’t say, and then imitate them. That, she said, was the secret of his father’s success, and how he’d risen to senior management level.
They walked past me at that stage, so I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation, but it’s always stuck in my mind, because in a human context, that’s what many people do - they aspire to be like somebody and then imitate them.
In a Christian context however, that becomes pretty radical advice, because it’s about imitating Jesus. Looking carefully at how he lived and loved, and trying our best to do the same. Playing our part in the bigger picture of bringing about God’s kingdom on earth. Becoming, and then making disciples.
Photo by Gift Habeshaw via Unsplash
But that sometimes is quite a hard thing to do, because we’re human and we have our imperfections and our brokenness. Yet Jesus never says to us that he’ll wait for us to catch up, to get it right, and then meet with us. He meets us where we are, with our flaws, and blemishes and our failings, and He walks with us. He calls us to be ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that we stay where we are, and how we are, because through our encounters with him, we are meant to be transformed, as he continues the work he started in us. And as we imitate him, we become more like him. As he meets us where we are, he covers our imperfections with his love, grace and mercy, and invites us to walk with him as he continues to transform us into his image. Enabling us to be the best version of us – if we let him.
In Japan, they have a technique for repairing broken pottery with seams of gold. Rather than using a normal glue that will repair something invisibly, they add a type of gold dust to the glue which has the impact of repairing the brokenness in a way that makes the object more beautiful than it was prior to being broken. The object has golden threads running through it. Instead of hiding the scars, it makes a feature of them. The method is known as Kintsugi, and simply means ‘golden joinery.’
Each one of us is uniquely and wonderfully made, and our imperfections when brought to Jesus, can in his hands become things of beauty and strength as we learn to surrender everything that we have and everything that we are to The One who can transform us with his ‘golden joinery.’
Watch what God does, and then you do it...Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
- Ephesians 5: 1-2 (The Message)