Speaking Of Life 2013 | Unified Opposites of Wholeness
As a kid, you probably played with magnets. You might have marveled at how the two positive sides or the two negative sides would repel each other as if there were an invisible hand keeping them apart. But when you flipped one magnet over to the negative side, it easily attached itself to the positive side.
As the saying goes “Opposites attract”. People have used this phrase for song lyrics, and they apply it to some relationships. The idea that opposites are good and necessary is not a new one. In fact, if you stop to think about the world we live in, we need the dark of night as much as we need the light of day, and for many of us, the cold of winter helps us appreciate the warmth of summer.
The idea of wholeness and unity means encompassing opposites—like brokenness and healing. The story of the Transfiguration shows us how Jesus unifies our brokenness and our strengths.
In this story, Jesus took the disciples—Peter, James, and John—up on a high mountain, and while they were there, Jesus’s appearance changed:
And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” (Matt. 17:2-5, NRSV)
Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets from the Old Covenant made with Abraham long before Jesus was born. In this vision, God showed Peter, James, and John that in Jesus, the Law and Prophets had been united and fulfilled, and then God confirmed this by saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” (v. 5).
The Law with all its rules, and the Prophets with all their laments about how God’s people fall short, may seem like opposites, just like the two sides of a magnet. The Law, symbolized by Moses, set up expectations, and the Prophets, symbolized by Elijah, reported how people just couldn’t keep those expectations. But in Jesus, these two opposites were brought together and unified. He fulfilled all the expectations.
This example can give us hope because we, too, are full of opposites. We want to do good and love our neighbor, but we often fall short. We aspire to be generous but we know we are often selfish.
The good news is that Jesus takes us into himself and unifies these opposites. He takes our brokenness and our strengths, and he makes us whole and complete. God tells us to listen to Jesus and pay attention to the way he has extended grace and reconciliation to all. The Beloved Son holds humanity in his grasp, and God is well-pleased.
May you know that you are held in the strong, unifying embrace of God’s Beloved Son Jesus today and every day.
I’m Heber Ticas, Speaking of Life.