I have been sparring with words like transformation, attainment, and ascension, ever since the Easter message of death and resurrection. It was probably sparked by my favourite preacher Dr Mark Chironna’s often spoken phrase ‘rising out of dead things’
The concept is shadowing me, and I constantly want to grope at it, but just can’t get a grip on it. So I thought to let it mull and mature through the observations that come my way.
First, it was hearing the bigger picture of the Gospel pattern, which may well reflect our own spiritual progress of death burial and resurrection (rising out of dead things)
Then the pattern increased in scope with the Ascension and Pentecost. But still, there was no clear understanding on my part. Still groping !
Second, it was the completion of a two-part watercolour pencil painting of butterflies, that I did as a gift for my friend Jenny’s newly moved-in home.
Butterflies, now there is a story of true transformation. First the egg, then the caterpillar then morphs the beautiful butterfly – not without a struggle though ! Isn’t Nature a wonderful teacher ?
But the butterfly had to go through the process of transformation.
Perhaps these serious thoughts of seeking clarity are because I have been in a safe and secure cocoon state for some years now. I have been a little frustrated with my ‘futility’ and my ‘redundancy’, yet the solitary has brought with it contentment and a little creativity – big pluses ! Now looming is the unknown and a suspect of oncoming change.
I turn my attention to attainment. But I cannot get to attainment. Besides attainment smacks of self effort, at which I am not an ace! So I wrestle on with words and thoughts, and procrastination.
I do believe though that we must endeavour to – attain. We must be looking to always learn, grow, expand and develop our personalities, character and lives. Else we stagnate, become dull and boring, or even worse – stay as we are.
But I am smartly reminded, and comforted from Scripture :
You have hedged me behind and before, And laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high I cannot attain it. – Psalm 139:5,6
Thirdly, I know that growing and developing is a process. It does not happen in a day or even a year, – perhaps in a moment in time, perhaps with just one word that brings another perspective, – but usually the processes have to sink in to bring about slow change.
Here before my eyes, I see on the current TV news, a glimpse into our country’s political arena, a very good example of slow change.
South Africa is in the grip of election fever, with 770,000 registered voters ready to make their mark on 8 May 2019. The clamour of the political parties are vibrant, and their constituents all clad in colourful battle attire of T-shirts and caps. The African National Congress in yellow, the Economic Freedom Fighters in red
and a wave of blue from the Democratic Alliance – all a
spectacular colour parade in stadiums for their last final push for political victory in democracy and
transformation – from ‘dead things’ – (if we can
only get passed the demons of greed and corruption !)
This colourful parade of politics brought to mind the writings of Dr Don Beck’s book The Crucible. I think he was hugely instrumental in the ‘behind-the- scenes’ of the forming of a new South Africa, in 1994. His research brought great understanding, for me, of the developmental stages of people, organisations and even of nations, with his colour chart of psychological development, which is as follows – and I over-simplify my interpretation thereof :
Beige – survival minded
Purple – mystic, spiritual minded
Red – expression (militant anger and/or creativity)
Blue – conformity, order (disciplined and responsible)
Orange – competitive (sport, business, achievement)
Green – community minded.
Yellow – networking, coalition minded.
Turquoise – Global minded.
Colour ? – suspected future development to come, is left blank.
And so with these colour dynamics one may identify, the state of mind of a person or organisation or group of people. This is helpful to bring about or at least understand transformation, and bring solutions to problem people or groups of people.
It is not a chart of the hierarchy of successful development, merely an indication of where we are on the chart – or in the rainbow, so to speak !
All these can be at the extreme ends or in-between on the colour spectrum.
Again, I ask, but what brings the actual transformation and development. Well, the short answer is God’s grace, and His goodness, of course. But I think its the seeing where we are at, and if we are willing to make a change that will in fact bring change. Because change is inevitable.
So presently, what is your favourite colour ?
In my time, I have been a purple person, a blue and a green, currently I think I am red – trying to express myself with to many words and drawings !!
Finally, Ascension, it is a high concept, that is still to high for me to attain.
I know in the Christian faith one is growing from the carnal to the spiritual. The Spirit-filled life is higher than the physical life.
But how do you attain it, I ask ? Again the short answer is only by God’s grace and His goodness.
But His ways are not our ways, and so the pattern of the Gospel may be helpful, as we see Jesus willingly going to the Cross, before He could come to the place of Ascension.
Like the metamorphosis of the butterfly, it does not come about without struggle, a struggle for survival, whether it be physical or spiritual.
In any one life there is always something higher to attain to. Transformation is needed to grow into what we are meant to become. We can reach for it, but it is God who will bring us through, by His Spirit, His resurrection power of new life, …. and in His time.