Who are you?
"... and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3.3
As I toiled up the road from Ostaig in the direction of the pass over to Achnachloich, I was aware of something on my shoulder. Looking around I saw a fellow cyclist. I didn't recognise him but he looked considerably senior to me in years. Imagine my chagrin, therefore, as he sailed effortlessly past! Either I am not as fit as I like to imagine, or he is bionic, or he was on one of those electric contraptions. But even if one or two or all three of these is true it shouldn't matter. My identity does not depend on how quickly I get around my parish. Nor, indeed, does my ultimate worth depend on how good a minister I am reckoned to be. As Paul reminded the church in Colosse, what determines our value as people is that we are precious to God.
Are you struggling with identity issues? Going through a beginning/ middle/ end of life crisis? Does it bother you that you may never life up to your dreams? These are phases that will pass. They may seem real now and to deny that would be cruel. But, hold on to this: God has infinitely greater intentions for you, so trust him and let the false expectations we too often allow to sap the joy out of life start to fade like the morning mist.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent. Yes it marks the beginning of the run-up to Christmas. Yet it is also the season in which we are invited to pay special attention to the promise of Jesus' return - to judge the world and to usher in the New Creation. This will be a far bigger deal than any of the doomsday scenarios so beloved of authors and film-makers. It's going to be a nightmare for those who have to front-up on their own merits. But, for those who have abandoned their egos and put their hope in Jesus, it will vindicate our sacrifice and confirm our conviction. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security. It could happen today or in a million years. Now, therefore, is the time to prepare...