ADVENT 2022: A SEASON OF REMEMBRANCE AND RESTORATION – 12/8/2022
December 6, 2022
Having the Attitude of Christ
Rev. Dr. Charlotte W. Myers
(Rev. Dr. Charlotte W. Myers is an ordained ABC minister who serves hospice patients, marginalized lay women’s missions and ministries, and an advocate for ministerial collegial covenant groups. She currently is Secretary-Elect for the ABC National “The Ministers Council” and Church Women United State President of the Northern California/Northern Nevada)
Philippians 2:1-10 (RSV)
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Here Paul speaks to the Church in Philippi about pathways for caring for one another. Paul’s words give us insight and ways to share our own experiences and stories of how Christ works in our lives. Paul’s says, through diligent study of Christ’s teachings we develop a like-mindedness. A mind to use God’s word as the guide to care for ourselves and others. This spiritual thoughtfulness is balanced by the actions we choose to take. Actions that correspond to a spiritually-realized life of generosity, emotional well-being, and collaboration. Collaborations that utilize our God-given unique gifts and are appropriate to meet the needs of others.
In Christ we find, said Paul, the example of godly service and humility. Christ example is to put others first, which leads to unity. Being self-less requires a true perception of other people’s needs and awareness of their vulnerabilities. Left on our own, we are self-absorbed and myopic about who comes first; “me”. Before God we are all sinners and saved only by God’s grace. In faith and through Christ we are saved.
Philippi was a trading center and the church reflected the diversity of the city. So unity probably was an issue for this community and Paul wants them be conscious of the dangers of prejudice and jealousy. So, he encourages them to be intentional about maintaining their unity and commitment to live out Christ’s model of love for one another.
During Advent we see The Incarnation as God’s appearance in the form of a human man, Jesus of Nazareth; Who is choosing to be limited and in submission to the will of God, the Father. Christ did not give up his deity as a human, but set aside the right of his power and glory in submission to love for God. Jesus of Nazareth lived in a limited place, time and culturally context. However, he lived free from sin and showed us everything about God that can be experienced in human terms and God glorified Jesus because of his obedience. In his birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection we see the fulfillment of God’s reign.
Prayer: Father God, in Jesus of Nazareth we see a living role-model and understand our own potential as your children. Let us not care only for ourselves, but let us be more and more like Christ in our love for you and our fellow beings. Amen.