Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today’s text

Philippians 2:1-4

So if in Christ there is anything that will move you, any incentive in love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any warmth or sympathy -- I appeal to you, make my joy complete by being of a single mind, one in love, one in heart and one in mind. Nothing is to be done out of jealousy or vanity; instead, out of humility of mind everyone should give preference to others, everyone pursuing not selfish interests but those of others.


This is a word out of time, Jesus--out of every time. There has been no time when these words didn’t apply.

Paul looks at the congregation in Philippi and urges them to unity of mind and heart. Seek to be one in love through humility, setting aside selfish interests to care for the interests of others, the interest of the entire body of believers.

I have less an idea about what might have divided the ancient Greek community at Philippi than what divides us.

We approach life as consumers, Jesus. We believe and act as if it the world should serve us, our needs, our wants, our comforts. We go to a store or café so long as it serves us as we please. When it does not, we go elsewhere. There are plenty of other options.

There is no incentive to stay, to seek understanding or reconciliation. It is easier to leave. What matters is getting what you want.

This attitude shapes our entire consciousness. It is an attitude of privilege, arrogance and irresponsibility.

Our culture, our way of life forms us. It does its own kind of spiritual formation into the spirit of consumerism in which what matters is me, my wants and getting them fulfilled in when and where I please.

Nothing could be further from your Spirit, Jesus. Nothing could be further from the spirit of worship and community.

In Christian community, you move us beyond consideration of our own needs Jesus. When we worship it is your glory not our comfort that take central place. If it is not, then who are we worshiping? And if we cannot look beyond ourselves to others, how is communal life and joy possible?

Move us beyond the evil spirit of our age and culture, Jesus. Teach us contentment. Show us the needs of other souls, and reveal your desire to join us in your body, with a single heart and will--to love and serve you and each other in your name.

In you, we are not consumers, but receivers of your generosity that your goodness may flow through us.

Our ways breed criticism and conflict, competition and anger. Your way brings unity and joy. So teach us your way.

Pr. David L. Miller

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