Spirituality: Know that you represent God when you show up – Norwich Bulletin

Burnt food. When I heard the smoke detector go off and saw the flashing lights, I must have turned ten shades of red. I was in my hotel room. Dad was just getting out of bed. I had planned to surprise him with a toasted English muffin. To be able to cook a meal or two, was one of the reasons I chose a suite with a kitchenette.

My first muffin was a little light and undercooked. I adjusted the "darkness" knob so the muffin would cook a little longer. Moments later I looked over. I saw the smoke and smelled the burnt muffin. I quickly went to the toaster and popped up the handle to remove the muffin. Little did I know that I had already set things in motion.

I took my first bite of the muffin when the alarm sounded. Panic set in. I've been an active member of a volunteer fire department for the last two years. In my head I envisioned the worst-case scenario with guests flooding out to the parking lot as the fire trucks arrived. The image of Hester Prynne in Hawthorne's, "The Scarlet Letter," came to mind.

I have been to homes where burnt food was the cause of the alarm. As a volunteer firefighter, I always walked away thankful that it wasn't anything more than that. There should be no embarrassment. Yet, it is different being on the other end of that scenario. As a firefighter, I believe I'm supposed to be an example to others in fire prevention.

Thankfully, the alarm was localized and the manager arrived to remedy my situation with a fan and an open window. The embarrassment was mostly my own. It got me thinking. Imagine if we got as embarrassed when we stumbled in matters of faith. The Apostle Paul says we are going to fall down. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

In other words, there are going to be "burnt food" moments as Christians that come back to embarrass us. If you want proof, just scroll through the Facebook feed on a typical day. Where is Christ in our posts? Yet, the Apostle Paul declares that we are called to be "Christs ambassadors" and tells us that God is "making his appeal through us."

Paul suggests in various places that we are held to a higher standard once we have accepted Christ. We are now called to represent him. Our old self is dead and buried. Christ now lives within us. When people see us, Jesus should shine through. I like what Paul says in Philippians 2:

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life."

I hope people will see Jesus in us when we show up. It's kind of like putting on our gear as firefighters. People know who we are when we arrive. They know we are there to help. I'd like to think the same would be true "when we put on Christ." When they see us coming, they will know we are coming to bring forgiveness, grace and the love of God.

The Rev. Cal Lord is the pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly. Reach him at calstigers@gmail.com.

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Spirituality: Know that you represent God when you show up - Norwich Bulletin

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