You may recognise this prayer from my mission statement, “May I be as Christ to those I meet…” which the Abbot of the Lindisfarne Community has graciously allowed me to quote from their community prayer. It rolls off the tongue quite easily. However, for me it has become increasingly challenging. It was from saying this prayer and then reading the well known passage from Philippians 2 v5 (ESV) that brought my walk to an abrupt stop!
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death…”
I have in the past been on the receiving end of several break-ins and attempted burglaries. I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences. It is an upsetting and violating experience. It has left me, for many years, with a loathing of those who, through greed or need, wish to enter my home and take the things that have been entrusted to my care.
What challenged me was the Crucifixion. With his death imminent, the dying Christ reaches out to the thief next him and says,
“Today you will be with me in Paradise”.
Yes, challenging in itself, but more so when you realise paradise is the home of the Christ!
May I be as Christ… to those you loath… the thief, the murderer, the terrorist, the religious fundamentalist, the religious liberal… the list goes on.
For me personally, the challenge is to reach out to the thief, with the unconditional love of the dying Christ. I have to be honest, it makes me drag my feet a bit as I resume my walk.
You may have noticed that I have only quoted the first part of the prayer. There is a reason for this. There is a reward. “…that I may find Christ within those I greet”.
To realise the face of the Creator in those we meet, whether they are aware of their God or not, is one the greatest blessings you can receive on your personal journey.
Thy Kingdom come.