Saturday, March 23, 2013

In your right mind

Crown of Thorns under the West Pier, Brighton, England- Graffiti Art

Reflection on Philippians 2 for Palm Sunday, 24th March 2013

While we know we are not very good at being Christian
surely God appreciates how hard we try
and takes that into account!

The whole idea of the Cross, crucifixion 
and the death of Jesus 
presents us with a lot to get our heads around.
Indeed as you read the New Testament,
particularly the letters of St Paul,
it could be argued that he spends a lot/most of his time
explaining the significance 
of the Cross.
It is, indeed a lot to get one's head around.

What do we think God is doing?
In one of those passages, Galatians 6:14
Paul says 
" May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
This is picked up in the traditional hymn 
Forbid it Lord that I should boast save in the death of Christ my God 

This idea (and many others) often flies in the face of much of our heartfelt
religious ideas
 Paul is intent upon telling Christians 
to allow ourselves to know the salvation that Jesus has won for us
and not think we have to win it for ourselves;
either by being good
or by beating ourselves up for being bad.

When he talks to the Christians in Phillipi
he talks slightly differently
" Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus"
What ever we might think God is doing
Paul reminds us that we are being formed into something new
We are being formed to be (like) Christ, 
for God, in ourselves, and for the world.
And this, we are reminded,
is not because we are good
or clever, or socially privileged,
or even devout, spiritual or holy
...all that may or may not (probably may not)
be true
Yet even Jesus does not presume 
to act out of his Godliness
"but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave...and humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death"
It is the same sentiment that Paul is making to the Galatians.
The Cross is not about is about God

What ever we think about ourselves 
we do not regard what God has done and is doing for us
as something to be presumed upon.

How easily we presume that God will forgive us
yet do not presume that we should forgive!

How we expect God to be there for us
but aren't there for others
or are only there for those who we like.

"Let the same mind be in you as was in Christ Jesus"
is a reality check
that says is not what we do
it what God is doing in us
It is God who we are to present
to the world
not ourselves.

In this Holy week 
we ask ourselves
am I allowing myself to be formed into Christ?
Am I open to the radical vulnerability of one who will put aside his own life
and live for others?

Where is God asking me to do this in my life and relationships?

Is what I do with my time
is how I conduct my relationships
What might the "mind of Christ" look like in me,
what changes do I need to make?

How do I need to grow?

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