"Christ is Risen! Risen indeed! Holy one, may we follow the example of Christ and choose patience, tolerance, compassion and love over anxiety, anger, compulsive behaviour, and discouragement. May we rejoice in the Way that is not the way of the world, but the Way of your reign: seeking justice, loving kindness and walking humbly."
17 Brothers and sisters,* join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship* is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21He will transform the body of our humiliation* so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory,* by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.
1) "...join in imitating me;" "...live according to the example;" "...our citizenship is in heaven;" "...he will transform;" "...the body of his glory;"
2) "Be conformed to the body of his glory," that is a tall expectation. It is the end, all else is in service of being conformed to the body of God's glory. Is it possible to keep our vision on our citizenship in heaven? It is so much easier to be citizens of things we can see right here before us: race, ethnicity, gender, class, culture, language, education, nationality. How do we live out citizenship in heaven? How do we live as though all creatures, all people, all creation is in citizenship in heaven? It is so much easier to create "us" and "them". How do we get beyond our petty citizenships and identify exclusively as equally members of God's Reign? Paul beseeches us to imitate him. As he awaits the verdict on his own death sentence, he writes what are essentially love letters to his communities, telling them to keep doing what is right, and not to lose hope, affirming that live or die, what happens affirms the Glory of God.
3) What is the invitation in all this? To choose glory over shame, "power" over destruction, transformation over humiliation. To celebrate hope.
"Holy One, transform the body of our humiliation so that we may be conformed to the body of your glory, lead us into citizenship in heaven, subject to you."
Breathprayer: "Join... the body of his glory."