Mar. 23 – Saturday                                        Read Philippians 2:5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

from William Flewelling, Proctor, WV

            This mind of Jesus – a whole way of thinking and valuing life and what goes on in life: Paul bids the Philippians (and us in their company) to have as our own this mind of Jesus.

Looking around, we can easily see that lots of people following Jesus do not think the same way as each other: some, for example, weight everything on some absolute scale of being right (that is, correct) while others weight everything on love and compassion.  A pair of food pantries illustrate: the first wanted to make sure that someone not deserving according to standards did not get served while the second want to make sure that no one needing assistance was denied.  Both notions cannot be satisfied simultaneously: you decide which way you go.

In the end, Paul pries in his word: have among yourselves the same mind, the same way of thinking that you have in Christ Jesus.

We have some clues: he emptied himself, became like a servant, humbled himself, was obedient to God, even to death, death on the cross.  The start of that string of attitudes is being in the “form of God”, from which he emptied himself.

Now, this Christian Life we intend to live starts out with Jesus.  We come to Jesus with a whole set of things we consider important, including influencing the way things go in life.  To find that, having voted in an election and having every candidate you favored lose, every issue you favored lose, every issue you denied your vote win, the notion that you are not influencing much of anyone or anything comes to mind.  We want our dealings to have influence with someone; Paul says to think the way Jesus thinks, this man whose influence in his day found him executed in the most brutal of ways.

Even before we get to that obedience to death on the cross, however, we are met full face with emptying himself of all influence and popular importance.  We find him living the humble life, without presumption.  We find him the servant, the one who plumbs the murky depths of life for love of all the rest – the good and the bad, the deserving and the undeserving, always exposing the humble ways of God, emptied and humble and graciously loving in all things.

Our God, as we find ourselves emptied and mute, humbled and stark, grant us the harmony which is attuned to the mind of Jesus.

 

Prayerscapes for Lent is presented by the Order of Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia.  ©2013.  All rights reserved.  Duplication and distribution for profit is not permitted.

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