what shapes us

America is looking toward a presidential election, the outcome of which will shape it one way or another. But that outcome is in part due to how America has already been shaped. As important as this election is, especially given the striking difference which seems to have come into play, this is not to be compared with the importance of being shaped by Jesus Christ through the gospel in the church, a shaping which is Trinitarian in its source: from the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit.

While I’m afraid the former takes on something of a formative place in the lives of many of us who name the name of Jesus that only the latter deserves, the truth is that we are shaped by where our faith, hope and love lie. And we’re to have one complete, entire commitment by which we’re shaped, to Jesus himself as our Lord and King. God not only is One, as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but God is alone God, so that we’re to love him with all of our being and doing, and in that spirit, love our neighbor as ourselves.

It is God in Jesus by the Spirit who shapes us. But God does so through the gospel, through the sacramental and common life of the church, and through life itself, in all its bends, blessings, and even brokenness.

A key thought in this post is the truth that while, for example, being an American inescapably impacts us all, in a variety of different ways, since after all, we are American citizens, or we happen to live in America, or whatever society we’re a part of, we in Jesus find our essential shaping, even in that, in him no less. And that shaping in him is of course Trinitarian, gospel, and church-oriented. The common thread is a person, the person of Jesus himself. So that we find that we’re united not only to God through him, but also to each other in him. And in that unity we are being remade into the image no less of the One who is remaking us, a shaping that is to continue and last forever.

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