My favourite part of our Anglican church service is the final prayer in the Holy Eucharist – and this is not because it means the service is nearly over! Rather it is because I see it as my weekly re-commitment to go out into the world and be an ambassador of Christ. The prayer reads;
Father Almighty, we offer ourselves to you as a living sacrifice in Jesus Christ our Lord. Send us out into the world in the power of the Holy Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.
In Romans 12, Paul further urged the Christians in Rome to “not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
In the world we live in, the pattern for people living with HIV or affected by HIV & AIDS is one of stigma, discrimination and judgement – even after three decades of fighting this disease. Christ calls us as his ambassadors to be transformed by the renewing of our minds – to fight against the stigma, discrimination and judgement, and to reflect Christ to all people living with HIV or affected by HIV & AIDS.
How do we do this? We invite the Holy Spirit to renew, re-educate and redirect our minds, so that we can be fully transformed. Practically this means being a living sacrifice through the words that we speak, the actions we do and who we are. It is not enough to speak kind and non-discriminatory words, and it is not enough to simply do a kind act here and there for someone affected by HIV & AIDS. Transformation suggests a complete change or redirection – Christ calls us to be transformed in who we are, it is a deep and inner renewal of our core being, a transformation that leads us to truly be Christ’s ambassador in this world.
To think about:When a person affected by HIV watches me, do they see in my words, my actions and my character, a living sacrifice – an ambassador of Christ?
Written by: Janine Ward (Co-CEO, Jewels of Hope) and trained Churches Channels of Hope facilitator