Tis the season of political conventions. This week we are in the midst of the Republican Convention, and next week we’ll be immersed in the Democratic Convention. Both events seek to tell a story with their particular spin in hopes of convincing others to see the world as they see it and, in the end, to vote for their candidates. We human beings are storytellers and when we see a story portrayed that aligns with the story we tell ourselves, we are all in. Real estate agents know that when a prospective homebuyer begins to talk about where they’ll be putting their table or which room their kids will be sleeping in, the likelihood of a purchase increases exponentially.
The political conventions work hard to encourage us to buy into their version of reality and their solutions, naturally. As Christians, however, we are called to align to an even more fundamental story—that of Jesus. We follow one who eschewed power, who refused to meet violence with violence and who accepted all of the misfit losers that the powers that be rejected. It isn’t a flashy story, and it may even be hard for us to know how to truly live it. But we are promised that when we commit ourselves to living into this story, we will find abundant life, for ourselves and for our world.
In our Eucharistic prayer for this season, we pray that
the same Spirit that fills the bread and wine with the fullness of Jesus, rests on us, converting us from the patterns of this world until we conform to the shape of him whose food we now share.
That’s a big prayer! So often I think we take for granted our spiritual lives and maybe even minimize what living into this prayer on a daily basis might really mean. What would our world look like if Christians throughout the millennia lived here on earth as Jesus did? In the fourth century, Christianity–the movement of the included outcasts–became the state church, aligned with power, the powerful and the status quo. How different might our world be had we remained on the edge, free to speak and live God’s mercy and inclusion, committed to the way of love instead of power? We will never know, but we do know this: that God uses all things to draw us and our broken world into this communion of Love.
How might we intentionally invite the Spirit to assist us, individually and as a community, to break open the patterns and norms we may not even notice any longer, that we may see and experience afresh Jesus in our midst? How might we hold gently our inevitable discomfort even as we allow ourselves to be washed in the wonder and beauty of the Spirit’s efforts to conform us?