Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” These daunting words begin the song found in Philippians 2, a song that does not glorify Jesus’ divinity or his superiority but rather the humility and humanity of the one Paul calls Lord.
We customarily think about Jesus’ divinity during the Easter season; we use words like triumphant and victorious, resurrected one. But these verses from the letter written to the church in Philippi invite us to pause for a moment and think about the Jesus who was mortal, who became like us, who walked upon the earth, and who ultimately knew the suffering and despair of death on the cross. He did not exploit his exalted relationship with God but emptied himself, becoming servant to those around him.
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” What does that mean? It means we are called to resist contemporary expectations and to embody a different kind of community than we see and experience around us. In a world where greed, the accumulation of wealth, and staying on top are the primary goals; a world where trickery and scam, appearances, deception and illusion are the dynamics of everyday life, we are called to be different. This is not a call to become celebrity or to hold a “me first” mentality. This is a call to release our arrogance and become servant . . . of all. This is a call to lose our lives.
How then do we allow God’s powerful weakness to work its way into ourselves and our communities? What does a faith community look like when survival and celebrity are not its primary goals, when the congregation willingly loses itself for the sake of those in the community, those most vulnerable among it?
God of expectation, we get drawn into and conform ourselves to the world around us. Give us the courage and wisdom to live our lives as followers of Jesus. Amen.