Friday, August 23, 2019

Christ is like red cellophane

Christ is like red cellophane.

It’s kind of hard to see, but this is a plastic holder from the old Password game. Some of you of a certain age may remember that game. On TV, there were 2 teams of 2, with the host Allen Ludden. Allen would give one person on each team the secret password, and they would try to get their partner to guess the word by giving them one-word clues. In the home game, the secret passwords were typed in blue on this rectangular card you see in the image, typed over with red letters so you could not read them until you slid the word under the red cellophane (or maybe it’s plastic) window, which made the red letters disappear and you could read the blue password.

The image of this password holder comes to my mind when I hear verses such as 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Because I am in Christ, when God looks at me, he sees the new, unblemished me, not the one covered with those obstructive sins and screw-ups, like the red words on the password card, made to disappear by the red cellophane. Christ is like the red cellophane.

Sometimes I imagine Christ as a kind of translucent figure standing in front of me, his arms outstretched like the crossing guard in front of a grade school. God looks at me and sees me through Christ.

Recently I read an article where the author said God knows our sin and does not look at us with rose-colored glasses. I thought, “Oh oh, my red cellophane thing is like rose-colored glasses.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot. God does know our sins, our mess-ups, the times we failed to show love, the ways we have hurt ourselves or others. But he transcends them. He lifts them. We don’t have to carry them or let them come between us and God’s love.

When I was at one of my retreats, a priest told the story of a retreatant who was wrestling with shame. (Forgive me if I'm repeating myself -- I've recounted this story to many people.) This person said that he imagined holding Jesus' hand and walking with Jesus deep down into his own heart, to the darkest part of his heart that he was so ashamed of he could not face or talk about it. And he stood there, in that dark place, holding Jesus' hand, and Jesus did the work. Jesus took care of it. The person did not have to worry about it anymore, did not have to be ashamed anymore. 

When I was growing up, it was a tradition to have a time of confession and forgiveness in our church services (and we still have these elements in our worship). After our prayer of confession, the pastor often quoted 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” So there you go, God sees our pure hearts through the red cellophane Christ.

What do you think?

What can I pray about for you?


What is this?? A while back, I had an idea. I was thinking of some friends I wanted to pray for, but I didn't have a specific thing to pray about on their behalf. I decided to pray that they would feel God's love. I decided to send them an email when I prayed, so they'd know and be encouraged. Then I thought about my many other family and friends who I would like to encourage with prayer, and decided to start this email.
    Two things I try to do:
-- Encourage you with a reminder of God's love. My goal is to avoid anything where the response is "I should..." Just a short reflection of God's love.
-- Pray for you. I'll pray with each email, and please reply to me with anything you'd specifically like me to pray for you. I'll keep it confidential, don't worry..
.     If you would like to send me specific prayer requests. I will gladly pray with you. Email me at mavis at I'll keep all communication confidential.

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