“Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.”
Imitation is defined as “the action of using someone or something as a model.” It is a vehicle of learning. Children learn how to speak first by imitating their parents or guardians. Children learn about emotion, facial expressions, and actions through imitating the adults who surround them. Imitation then develops into skills and habits. The process of learning by imitation is not always easy and can get frustrating. But it is an incredibly useful tool for learning and transformation.
We are to be imitators of Christ, just as Paul is attempting to imitate Christ. What does that look like? For Paul in this part of Scripture, it means looking out for others in the community. It means caring for people even when they believe or act differently from you. It means not seeking your own advantage or agenda, but seeking to lift up others among us. We are to do as Jesus does. Love our neighbors. Invite everyone to our tables. Bring in those who have been cast out. Include the excluded. These are the things that Jesus does most often during his earthly ministry and they are the actions that we can imitate. As we imitate them, they might even become a part of us. They might even change us in a way that we no longer have to rely on imitation. They may become natural.
During this Lenten journey, we are trying to intentionally refocus on what it means to follow Christ. One could say that we are trying to “get back to the basics.” At the heart of what it means to follow Christ is the calling to do what Jesus does. As you reflect on your walk with Christ, who are you imitating? How can you better imitate Jesus?
In Jesus and his way of life, you have given us an example to replicate, to imitate, and to follow. We are grateful for the way that so many have followed his Way that is so different from the ways of the world. Through your grace, we pray that you would transform us through our imitation of your Son, Jesus the Christ. Amen.