The Journey 113: Transformed Living
Read: Acts 2: 38-47
Chuck Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship International died on Saturday at Virginia at the age of 80. According to James Dobson“ The world has lost one of the most brilliant Christian leaders and articulators of the faith. He was a scholar, a constitutional lawyer, and a compassionate humanitarian who befriended lost and lonely prisoners for nearly 40 years. He wrote and sold millions of copies of his much-loved books, while giving most of the royalties to support Prison Fellowship. Instead of basking in wealth, he and his precious wife Patty chose to live humbly and frugally. He defended principles of righteousness in the culture without compromise or equivocation”. But Colson had a bitter past because of his involvement in the in the famous Watergate scandal which resulted him serving a seven month prison term. He was described as hatchet man for President Nixon. But it is this prison term that brought about dramatic changes in his life including living transformed life. Writing in Washington Post, Michael Gerson says that “Chuck was possessed, not by some cause, but by someone”. I believe that someone was Jesus Christ. Gerson continues “He stood in a long line of celebrated converts, beginning with the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road, and including figures such as John Newton, G.K. Chesterton and Malcolm Muggeridge. They were often received with skepticism, even contempt. Conversion is a form of confession — a public admission of sin, failure and weakness. It brings out the scoffers”. I think whatever be his past, Chuck Colson tried to live everyday as a transformed, converted Christian. I think this is one fact that transforms family, society and the church.
This week we are going to meditate on a new theme “ Transformation in my parish”. The portion that we shall use for our meditation is from Acts 2: 38: 47. This is the portion that describes the beginning of the early church. Peter who was a coward before, having denied Jesus Christ, is now filled with the Holy Spirit and he preaches boldly to the Jews who were assembled before him. He boldly proclaims “ Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins”[ v: 38]. With this preaching we find around three thousand people became believers and it is in this context that we find the inception of the church– the body and community of believers. But then after this conversion is what we see in the following verse, the life style of the believers and the early converts in the church. In verse 42– 44 we find that the believers gathered together for fellowship and for the breaking of bread and prayer, and had every thing common, selling their possessions and goods and they gave everyone according to their need. I understand fully that we may not be able to replicate exactly as the early converts did, but what I would want to emphasize is that, all these converts had an entirely new beginning and a new life style that witnessed the saving love and grace of Jesus Christ and consciously dedicated their life and their possession for the benefit of others. Today many of us claim that we are believers and that we are the true body of Christ, but our life style is often the same as compared to the people who have not encountered Jesus Christ. It is here that if the parish has to be transformed, each of us who are members of the parish needs to express and witness a life style that may sometime prompt others to scoff at our belief and our conversion. But our Lord teaches us that we need to bear all that as a part of our witness.
Ready to be scoffed, mocked for your belief and commitment? That is what Christian commitment is all about and that is what the body of Christ is all about.