Today’s reading: John 1:1-28
The true light, which enlightens everyone,
was coming into the world. v.9
May we recognize You in all Your forms –
and may we be made into our enlightened selves, our true selves.
When I think about church, I definitely do not think of it as a place where I can be my true self. I think it’s a place where I have to be my best self, or my most polite self, or even my most godly self. But never my true self. This is because I often think that my true self isn’t what the church wants. And if the church doesn’t want my true self, then surely Jesus doesn’t either. My true self is someone that needs to be fixed, or cleansed, or hidden. My true self is sinful and needs to be given over to Jesus. My true self is unworthy.
In essence, what this kind of logic boils down to is the following: Jesus and the Church do not want my true self – they do not want me.
But I was made from the very beginning from the light.
So when I see that Jesus, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was good and it was made of light and that through him all things were created and made of light, that gives me hope. Maybe my true self is actually good. Maybe my true self is actually worthy. Regardless of what the church tells me, or what my family tells me, or what society and culture tell me, all my parts are good.
It gives me hope because even Jesus himself was not recognized in his true form. Throughout his ministry, the people Jesus showed himself to did not believe in him and did not recognize him as the Messiah. But for the people who did believe in him, he helped them become their true selves.
When I read of John the Baptist, I am also encouraged. He knew himself. It didn’t matter what boxes others wanted to put him in. Was he the Messiah? Was he the Prophet? Was he Elijah? Who was he and how dare he baptize people in the river?
But because John the Baptist knew his true self, he knew he was the voice shouting in the wilderness, proclaiming the way of God. He knew who he was and who he was not and therefore, he lived in the fullness of his calling.
You are created by God, in God’s image The Word gave life to you and his life brought light into you. You were made from the light to be good. Embrace your true original self and do not hide it. “Nothing was created except through him.” Nothing. All our parts are good.
“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”
– Genesis 1:31
Do you believe that all your parts are good? Do you believe that you are worthy? How can we as a church be like Jesus and reflect our true selves?
Created by: Virginia Duan
About the author: Virginia Duan is a Taiwanese American author/writer who focuses on parenting through brokenness, teaching kids Chinese in an English dominant environment, bilingual homeschooling, and social justice. She is the author of “So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.” She writes with unflinching honesty, fury-tinged humor, and uses ten words when one would do.
Image by: Steven Lee
About the artist: Steven Lee is an 18 year old Taiwanese American. He has been doing fine art all his life, exploring digital art at Chapman University, and he also enjoys singing in choir and a cappella groups, playing violin and composing/arranging songs. Music, art, the love of Jesus, and sociology are the main focuses of his life, and he is dedicated to connecting the four of them in unifying and healing this world’s injustices along with others like-minded.