Especially this time of year, everywhere you look there is an offer for some sort of “makeover.” Playing into our impulse to make New Year’s resolutions for the betterment of everything from our looks to our wardrobe to our kitchens and closets, talk of transformation is everywhere. Not only that, but take a look at TV. There are a LOT of makeover shows. There are makeover shows for houses: Fixer Upper, Love It or List It, Rehab Addict, Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, and Renovate to Rent — just to name a few. And then there are makeover shows for people: Extreme Makeover, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, Glam Me Up, I Can Make You Thin, Losing It, Make Me A Supermodel, Shedding For The Wedding, The Biggest Loser, and What Not To Wear —again, just to name a few!
These are so-called “reality” shows. They see people and houses as needing to be “made over,” whether the problem is being out of shape or an ongoing “bad hair day” (a problem about which I know very little) or sloppy clothes. Perhaps it’s a room in need of redecorating or a house in need of renovation. In all these programs, the experts looks things over, judge the person or room or house to be in need of a makeover and, through the magic of television, we can see the results a few minutes later.
Reality TV? Well, the truth is, those external makeovers can be pretty short-lived. Eventually hair grows out, the clothes go out of style, the makeup runs out, wrinkles appear, bellies get flabby, paint peels, and furniture wears out. That’s the difference between a makeover and real transformation. Paul says, in one of our readings on Sunday, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)
A Makeover regards people from a human point of view, it is just on the surface, and it doesn’t last. Transformation, on the other hand, regards people from the point of view of Christ, it is much more than skin deep, and it lasts. It is so much more than a makeover. Paul says that in Christ we are new creations and everything becomes new.
In this series of sermons I am following our tagline: Love God. Serve People. Transform Lives.
Transformation is what we are about as the Body of Christ and as a community of faith. As we regard ourselves and others from the point of view of Christ and as we Love God and Serve People, we Transform Lives — the lives of others as well as our own lives. You see, when God equips us to see things in a completely new way, we each become part of this ministry of transformative reconciliation: “in Christ,” Paul says, “God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-19, NRSV)
Empowered by the love of Christ, we each play a part in carrying out the bold message and the hard, reconciling work that transforms all the lives we touch — often starting with our own! We enable this transformation through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness. I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday as we again hear the challenge to be God’s people in the world — people who strive in every way to love God, serve people, and transform lives!
Grace and Peace,