This Sunday we have a chance to read the great Christ Hymn out of Philippians. It is an amazing hymn written early in Paul’s Christian walk before the time when he started to be influenced to turn back toward a more Christian/Jewish mesh of faith.
Part of what is amazing about this passage, Philippians 2:1-11, is not just the Hymn, but the introduction Saint Paul writes before the Hymn. “Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others. Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus…”
Paul calls on us to be of one mind with each other, to look out for the needs of each other, and to show the same love to the world around us. It is a very succinct and pointed command to follow the path that Jesus laid down for us. Jesus left us a command that we are to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. And in this very first letter of Saint Paul, he reminds us that we must continue to walk that path of love as the Church.
It had not even been 100 years since Jesus walked the earth and the church already needed a reminder to stay on task. After nearly 2000 years, the Church really needs to wake up and head that message. We have lost our way. We no longer show love to one another. In fact, we are told that such things as love, kindness, gentleness, and peace are weaknesses. The Jesus of the Bible tells us that our strength comes not from hate, abuse, anger, and war, but rather from caring for each other, helping those most in need, loving one another, and working to foster peace around the world.
It is time the Church lives up to the call of Christ echoed by Saint Paul this Sunday morning. It is time that we return to the roots of our Christian walk. Otherwise, we should just drop the name Christian altogether.
Won’t you join me in that walk?
Pax et Bonum,