A psychiatrist told me this joke: “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Well, only one, but the light bulb must want to change.” Doctors probably enjoy that one because clients often tell them they want to change—until they realize what change requires.
Today’s verses are hard to read. Jesus is not soft-spoken here—his words seem harsh and confusing. Isn’t saying goodbye to your family a reasonable request? Isn’t burying your parents a good way to keep the fifth commandment? Who doesn’t have a habit of looking back?
Jesus understands the human condition. He knows what all psychiatrists know, that human beings tend to resist change. But discipleship demands radical transformation. The Greek word for transfigured is metemorphothe. Its root word, meta, means “to change.” You must be born again, after all.
Discipleship requires surrender. Proclaiming Christ as Lord means letting go of everything that keeps us from taking hold of Jesus fully. Like the caterpillar that weaves a chrysalis to become a butterfly, God calls us to enter the chrysalis of Christ’s compassionate love. Following Jesus is a call to continual change. Writer and speaker Bob Goff reminds us to love “everybody, always,” including our enemies and those who are difficult to love. God wants to transform our greed into generosity so that those who don’t have enough may be clothed, fed, and housed. God transforms our indifference into justice for those who are oppressed. God leads us to speak with kindness. Being a disciple is a tall order that we can’t accomplish alone. But thanks be to God, because we’re invited into the chrysalis of love whose name is Jesus.
To what change is Christ calling you? How will you submit to Jesus’ transforming love?
God, thank you for your never-ending grace that transforms us to love others as you have loved us. Amen.