“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”Colossians 3:3
My daughter was telling me about two of her friends who struggle in their relationship. She says, “they are not very nice to each other. They complain to their friends about the others bad habits and quirks. They fight and squabble and pout all the time. But on Facebook, Instagram, and other Social Media all they do is coo like two love birds. What is wrong with them?”
The same thing that is wrong with the rest of us. We desperately seek the approval of those around us. We want them to know all of our good qualities, our acts of kindness, our good works. And so our life often looks like social media posts of day to day goodnesses. And yet, to most of our friends, and certainly our families, they know the truth.
Self denial does not come easy to any of us. We are by nature predisposed to lift ourselves above the fray, which includes above the perception of others. Our true nature, our sinfulness, our (not so) secret sin is right out there for all to see no matter what we might pose as banners of glory when we boast or extoll self virtue.
We could (and many do) hide this defect. But what is it that we use to cover our transgressions? More glory! We pull the blanket of “good works” over our head and hope that does the trick. But what is it that Christ does for us? He dies for our transgressions, the very ones we try to hide. Do you see where this leads us?
What if, instead of hiding our failures and shortcomings, we embraced them as the wounds of Christ? What if, we boasted about His work to love and care for us even and especially when we are less than the perfect people we want to be? What if the blanket we use to cover our selves was the forgiveness He gives freely as grace in baptism?
Each day of our life is the opportunity to walk in the shadow of the cross, to boast that God loves me so much that He sent His son to die for me. Each day of our life is a new opportunity to wash in the waters of baptism and be cleansed.
Paul says in Colossians that our sinful life is “hidden with Christ in God.” We don’t need to shout how good we are to the world. Christ gives you a greater status message to post. He says, “I have died for this one. I have laid down my life so he or she may live. Their sin is forgiven and so they will live with me and the Father from everlasting to everlasting.”
This is the Theology of the Cross. We no longer bask in a theology of glory but proclaim that through the Cross our old self is hidden and His new self covers me and reveals my new life to others. Social Media, for those who believe, proclaims “Christ crucified – #Hediedforme.”
How do my friends and family see me?
What do I really think about myself? Do I feel forgiven, or do I sometimes doubt and therefore compensate by telling myself I am better than I think?
In what ways can I better reveal the new self that Christ clothes me in at Baptism?