Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He 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.
Who are our heroes? To whom do we look up and try and copy? We have so many role models nowadays… footballers, models, pop stars… we try and follow the fashions they wear (although usually the nearest we can get to their style is by wearing something we got from the market that copies their look), the lifestyle they live. We follow their every move and thought on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. We want to be like them. We want to BE them. We do ourselves harm by not eating so that we might look like them. Some people even have cosmetic surgery in order to look more like their heroes.
Of course, none of them, or not many at least, are ‘enemies of Christ’. But they distract us from trying to be more like the one we all profess to follow. We search and yearn for earthly things when we know that these might give short term pleasure and satisfaction at best.
But there ARE worthy role models in our world today. Greta Thunberg is a modern day prophet trying to warn us about how we are in real danger of ruining God’s creation. J K Rowling and Bill Gates are giving away vast portions of their wealth to help make life better for people with fewer opportunities than they have. And there are others – in our churches and communities. And it is their example that we should be following. So why aren’t we?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to nip down to the market…
Help us not to be distracted by the glitz and glamour of our world,
by those who seem to have it all but do nothing with it.
Help us to see that, in following your Son more closely,
we can be examples of your love to the people we meet. Amen.
Leo Roberts, Children and Youth Development Officer for the North Western Synod of the United Reformed Church