Today’s entry might serve as a kind of prequel for your Reformation Day (Sunday) celebration. My spouse Chris’s observation: You can’t “re” anything that doesn’t already exist, so it makes sense that there must have been some kind of valuable formation before the Protestant Reformation.
When Creation was nearing completion, Adam and Even came into existence as God-formed creatures. Unlike the rest of creation, humanity did not emerge out of nothing. Instead, the shaping touch and breath/Spirit of God gave substantive form to the end-of-Creation beings who are our forebears.
In the eons that have followed, God has continued as a forming deity, structuring order and utility from the original created world. Formations resulting from God’s continuing creativity can be seen in human enterprises and thought, and in our formulations of what we hold to be true, right and beautiful. We continue our life journeys as God’s “formed-ones.”
We are also “forming-ones,” Spirit-directed creatures who sculpt or mold much of what we encounter. We gather together to create our own formations—families, friendships, churches—where we put into practice the way of Jesus. Places where we form and re-form each other.
As formed and forming ones, we encounter there our Savior, whose life, death and resurrection shapes us. The Holy Spirit meets us regularly in worship. With the encouragement and assistance of Church, we work diligently to ensure that our children are formed in the faith. We teach and exemplify the Church’s precepts. We smooth and patch, whittle and fill in, clean and protect the form of Christ among us. Reminded about our core identity, we fan out into the world that God keeps re-forming. The formation process continues, and it never ends.
During these days preceding the Reformation’s anniversary it makes sense that, in addition to celebrating what Luther and other reformers accomplished, we also thank God for our original formation—in God’s image—and our continuing reliance on Jesus and the Spirit. We can also cherish our foundational existence as God’s beloved creatures.
Formed, we form formations…!
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