Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Sometimes I wish I could freeze time during this part of fall and enjoy everything I love about it for at least a couple of months. Cool temperatures, ideal walking conditions, changing leaves (some still green, most turning golden, red, yellow, purple, white, orange, brown, some already on the ground), one day overcast, with rain in the air, the next clear crisp and brilliant.
Then I remember it’s the change that makes autumn so appealing, and that to interrupt the sequence according to my preferences would take away much of what I love.
Monday afternoon I found myself complaining – briefly – about the leaves and the pine straw I needed to rake before I could mow. Then, an hour into the invigorating exercise, I realized how grateful I was for the excuse to walk away from my computer, work hard, and breathe in the good air.
The fact that change is present is a sure sign of life. The garden where nothing ever changes is the one where everything is already dead. I remember a house in Florida where the entire yard had been replaced with astroturf and hardscape. Color was introduced via plastic flamingoes and a few garden gnomes. There is also a service (I kid you not) that works with realtors to increase the curb appeal of foreclosed houses by spray-painting dead grass a “lively” green.
People who want things to always remain the same, or – God forbid – roll back to some bygone era, are typically taking a stand against the very conditions that define the presence of life.
Life is variously defined, but common factors include the capacity for growth, reproduction, adaptation to the environment, metabolism, functional activity, response to stimuli, and continual change preceding death.
Vitality is this balance (not always delicate) between birth and burial, falling leaves and emerging new buds, plenty and want, planting and harvesting, admiring the fruit and returning it to the soil, rocking chairs in nurseries and rocking chairs on front porches, gaining a foothold – and then letting go.
Light, Air, Food, Water:
Transformation, then, is key to the working definition of following Jesus. Which brings me to the other parts of what it means to be alive. Life requires exposure to light, air, food, and water.
Jesus is the light of the world (John 8); God’s spirit is the breath of life (Genesis 1); “I,” Jesus said, “am the bread of life” (John 6); and, “Those who drink of the water I give will never be thirsty” (John 4).
Move forward! Be transformed! Grow! Embrace life, not stagnation! Be authentic, be real – and then don’t be afraid when God remakes you!
“Hang out with Jesus, and allow yourself to be transformed!” – 2 Corinthians 3:18