Who Are You Today?–
Mary-Ellen has a cousin who spent a number of years as a substitute teacher after retiring from the Air Force. In that experience, Thomas discovered that every day he had to be someone “different.” An elementary school teacher one day, a high school physics teacher the next, a middle school social studies teacher the next. Being a substitute teacher required him to change roles and to have different skill sets. He wrote a book about the experience and entitled it “Who Are You Today? A Survival Handbook for Substitute Teachers.”
There may be a sense in which that is an experience with which we all can identify (pun intended). One moment we are a parent, the next an employee or boss, the next a customer, the next a spouse. Roles change quickly and agility is required to shift gears. “Who am I?” may not be an uncommon question in our experience.
Beneath that question, however, there needs to be a fundamental core answer that does not change. For life to be healthy – emotionally and spiritually – we must know at some deep level who we are, what we believe, how we can identify ourselves. Otherwise, we become chameleons, changing from moment to moment, never at peace and never certain of who we are. If we don’t know who we are, there is no solid ground on which to stand when life challenges us and tempts us to be someone different.
This Sunday on the First Sunday in Lent, we will begin a new sermon series that invites us to follow Jesus where he is headed (rather than striking out on our own). Our first reflection will center around two passages of scripture that have to do with identity ( Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7 and Matthew 3:13-4:11 ). In one, not knowing who one is as a child of God leads to giving into temptation and disaster. In the other, it is precisely in knowing who one is that temptation is withstood and from which ministry and mission are born.
I hope to see whichever “you” shows Sunday. Maybe together we can find that following Jesus helps us to find ourselves in God.
Grace and peace.