Transformed by Renewal
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV)
The holy season of Lent provides opportunity for renewal that leads to transformation. In this case, “renewal” does not mean carrying a book to the library in order to receive permission to keep it in one’s possession for a longer period of time. It is not a rehearsed rehashing of vows once made at a wedding service the distant past. “Renewal” implies innovative change for the better. The disciplines of Lent direct us to this renewal so that we may be transformed—renovated, changed, and made over.
Fasting for renewal for the sake of transformation includes doing without in order to receive something new. An outfielder cannot catch the flyball in the air if that one’s baseball glove has too many other things in it. The cleansing and emptying of a fast allows us to receive gifts that our Lord is offering to us. “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling,” as the hymn, “Rock of Ages” describes it. There is plenty that needs to be dropped and put aside for the sake of cleansing and wholeness. Being transformed by the renewal of our minds includes fasting so that the wonder and awe of the resurrection Feast at our Lord’s holy altar may be received and shared with invigorating boldness and profound thanksgiving.
Praying for renewal for the sake of transformation involves a dissatisfaction with our sinful status quo. Protesting the darkness in us and around us, we pray to Jesus the Light as He, through our baptisms into Christ, makes us the light of the world. The Kingdom of God indeed comes without our prayer, but we pray that it may come also among us. Engaged by our Lord’s Holy Word, we receive the words to pray and offer them to our Father through Christ Jesus, as the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts would be acceptable to Him. In this way, we confess our sinfulness and seek our Lord’s strength to be made over in His image.
Giving for renewal for the sake of transformation encompasses gratitude for what has been given in Christ in the waters of Holy Baptism—forgiveness of sins, redemption from death and the devil, and eternal salvation. Freely receiving from our Lord liberates His people to give freely. Seeking to bring aid to any who are without, God’s people recognize that the pathetic tirades about personal paucity grow pale as the reality of the needs of others becomes more patent and our potential to provide assistance to them becomes more prevalent. Not giving gifts to get God’s love, the baptized have received God’s extravagant grace and love and give it liberally. Radically unraveling our selfish postures and turning from ourselves to the needs of the world, the transformative vision of a just and good new creation becomes tenable in us.
Christians are non-conformists when it comes to living life in the way of the world. Lent is an opportunity to be conscientious objectors to our old war ways and enthusiastic embracers of that new peaceful day when the bonds of wickedness are loosed, when the oppressed go free, and when the yoke that enslaves any is broken forever. That kind of breaking is “breaking fast” this Lent as it is realized in every “breakfast” Eucharist, causing sainted sojourners prayerfully to yield to the One who calls His people to seek to right the wrongs that plague, petrify and paralyze those whom our Lord would instead have jump, leap, and celebrate life with resurrection zeal and vigor.
“Let Your renewal for the sake of transformation begin in us, O Lord, so that the testing in these forty days may help us discern Your will for us—what is good, acceptable, and perfect.”
Peace and hope in Christ Jesus,
Saturday Liturgy: 7PM
Sunday Liturgies: 8AM & 11AM
Wednesday Liturgy: 7:30PM
Anointing with Oil for Healing: Once a month as indicated in the calendar.
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A Brief History
By the mercy of Almighty God, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx, New York, was founded in 1928.
Members of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Yonkers who lived in the Wakefield section of the Bronx in...
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Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church
4360 Rev. Theodore Wittrock Crossing
(Boyd and Barnes Avenues)
The Bronx, NY 10466-1804
Phone: 718.324.1288 - Fax: 718.324.2056
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