BY THE RENEWAL OF YOUR MINDS

TO BE TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our minds. Our evening prayer suggests today that I – that we – are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And I’m glad to hear it, for I’ve discovered that renewal is good. My entire Christian pilgrimage has been about the renewing of my mind, about the renewing of our minds, about – to put it simply – growing up!

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12.1-8

If my life, if our lives, are indeed to be transformed by the renewing of our minds then there’s such a lot of hope ahead for all of us. If we haven’t already done ALL the thinking, all the praying, all the renewing that there is to be done then there’s still a purpose ahead for us. If the life we offer as ‘living sacrifice’ in worship is indeed to be transformed then we can look forward, today and every day, to a new Genesis, to a ‘new-every-morning’ hovering of the Spirit – the life-giving, life-sustaining ruach , or breath of God – over our present-moment chaos. If we are indeed to be transformed by the renewing of our minds then there will be a new Creation, something about which, or about whom, God can say it, or she, or he, “is good”.

Two streams met and looked ahead at a vast desert.

The trees were dry and withered: nothing grew; the mouths of the cattle were chapped: everything was dry, awful.

The first said to the second, ‘What are you going to do?’

The second stream travelled to the desert.

The desert said, ‘I am going to swallow you. There will be no change, for I am glad when everything is dry, withered and dead.’

The second stream flowed on.

The desert opened its mouth, swallowed the stream and remained a desert.

The first stream shook its head, turned right round, passed boulders, went on up, up, reached the infinite lake which looked at the stream and said, ‘I have long looked for a channel.’

The stream said, ‘Pour through me.’

The lake poured through the stream.

The desert said, ‘I will drink you up.’

The little stream flowed on and on and swallowed up the desert, and all the barren land blossomed like a rose.

Ephraim Alphonse: Panama

Truly this is to be our vocation in this dawn of the twenty-first century: to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And then, better equipped to discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect, streams of living water will flow on and on and on … and all the barren land …

Lord, hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.