The Journey of Transformation
“Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven.” N.T. Wright
This is a story about all of us. Transformation is the journey of becoming a new kind of people living into a different kind of story.
Since the inception of AsOne - the ongoing dream has been to witness change. The dream of a future that aligns with God’s rule and God’s order. We have goals of changing economies, educational conditions, and access to opportunities - but ultimately our goal is changed people and changed relationships.
We believe that the journey of transformation is about change.
As Bryant Myers puts it, “Changed people recover their true identity and vocation.” It begins with helping people discover their human dignity and identity are found in Christ through his redemptive plans of making all things new.
To our surprise, we found out quickly that this “change” does not begin in the communities we serve, it begins in us. Transformation starts with us.
It begins with us understanding God’s bigger story and His plans for the future. We need to capture God’s vision for abundant living.
The Mexican poet and essayist Octavio Paz once captured our story in the West by writing, “Progress has peopled history with the marvels and monsters of technology, but has depopulated the life of man. It has given us more things but not more being.” Life abundant is about living, not simply having.
God’s Kingdom, His abundant life, His story, and purposes are about anything that is for life, that enhances life, and that points to God’s better future. Discovering our true identity and vocation is learning to tether our stories to His by being His children and participating in His Kingdom.
Myers suggests that we must learn to envision an Isaiah 65 kind of future that captures God’s bigger plan:
A world of joy, no weeping
A world where children do not die and people live full lives
A world where people have homes to live in
A world where people can enjoy the product of their own labor
A world where communities are restored and harmonious
A world where people live in peace, wholeness.
A world where God is in their midst, answering them before they call
The reason this process must begin with us is because our vision for abundant living has fallen radically short.
Our lives are dictated by fear, anxiousness, and scarcity. We’re more concerned about living into America’s story than God’s and we have forgotten to make our concern for others the first law of our life.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said in his sermon, On Being A Good Neighbor, many of us ask consciously or subconsciously “If I choose to help this person, what will happen to me?” But the changed person asks “If I do not help this person, what will happen to him?”
It’s when we begin asking these kinds of questions we begin to realize we are not the god of our lives or the god of others. The invitation is to engage in a dangerous task: disadvantaging ourselves for the sake of the poor and vulnerable.
The only true and sustainable change and transformation that can take place is through the power of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit, transformed people begin to reflect the image and nature of God back into all the places in which it has been marred and damaged.
Jesus once prayed that humanity may be as one as he is with the Father (John 17). A humanity living as if the rest of humanity’s well-being belongs to them is the kind of world Jesus envisioned. We who have been embraced by the outstretched arms of the crucified God must open up our arms for the sake of the world.
The reality is, if we truly want a better future, we must first begin to live that future in our own lives. If we truly want a changed world we must become a changed people. If we truly want to see changed identity and vocation - we must live out our new vocation and identity here and now.
The reason we can disadvantage ourselves for the sake of the poor and vulnerable is because of this. What we have is not ours, our future is not ours, our family is not ours, our job is not ours, and certainly, our money and resources are not ours.
This is often the god of our society, our stuff. If we can learn to give of ourselves, our time, our future, our resources, and our influence - we are actually learning to live into our restored identities: Children of God - of which everything we have is God’s.
This is our vision. That whether you are a staff member, donor, immersion trip participant, church partner, or a beneficiary - we would all be on the journey of living into our restored identity and vocation. We would all be on the journey of disadvantaging ourselves for the sake of the other. Join us on the journey of Transformation.