Our second Lent Devotion is written by Rowena Cuanico, talent acquisition specialist and interim regional safeguarding focal person for the Asia/Pacific area of Habitat for Humanity International.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Usually when we introduce ourselves, we share the most important pieces of information about our lives. We share about who we are, about our identity.
When we were new in Fiji as Columban Lay Missionaries, one of the first things we learned was how to introduce ourselves. As I was studying Fiji Hindi, I had to introduce myself in that language. I shared about the most important aspects of my identity: my name, where I had come from and my being a Columbian Lay Missionary. As we learned more new words, I noticed that I was telling more and more about myself. Yet my core identity remained the same.
For Paul, the identity of being in Christ was the central theme of his message to the early Christian communities. Paul used the phrases “in Christ” and “in Him” 143 times in his epistles. What does it mean then to be in Christ?
Perhaps because I am a talent acquisition specialist, I am inclined to propose some key performance indicators to help define what it means to be in Christ. Or perhaps we can look at Habitat for Humanity’s core values — humility, courage and accountability — as attributes. We can also learn from our servant leadership capabilities.
Being in Christ invites us to foster and nourish an intimate relationship with Christ, born out of love. Christ desires nothing else but for us to be united and in communion with Him, transformed into God’s own image and likeness. As we are being rooted in Christ, we are being led and directed to new values and perspectives. Am I becoming more compassionate? Have I become more forgiving? Have I become more accepting and tolerant of people whose faith traditions are different from mine? This may sound like a performance evaluation. However, in our faith journey, when we become more aware of and conscious of God’s work in us, our relationship will likewise become more intimate and life-giving.
As we enter the season of Lent, we are blessed with this wonderful opportunity to reflect and celebrate God’s unfathomable love for us. We are given time for prayer and solitude. We are encouraged to leave our comfort zone and exercise self-discipline through fasting. We are invited to do good and love more.
Loving God, may our hearts be open and attentive. Help us to be willing and ready to be surprised and awed by Your work, always making us new, renewing and transforming us, over and over again. May we be Christ to the world — eager to do good and love more.