Iam honored to have a six-year-old grandson who imitates me in many things. No father participates in his life. I tend to be the family member who transports him to his activities, and I am frequently the one who cycles with him on weekends. He often wants to do the things I do—right down to personal quirks, whether layering cereal preferences or eating fresh raspberries with a toothpick.
I find this imitation both touching and sobering. I try to be mindful of the example I set. Clearly, we all need some role models, some healthy individuals who mark out for us what being a whole, healthy person truly is.
Paul writes that Christians are to place Jesus Christ in this place of honor. “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” Some commentators have said this is the earliest attempt to define who a Christian is. We are to have the mind and spirit of Jesus, the Christ. We are to grow into humility so that we care about the welfare of others more than our own.
Paul lays out a challenging path for our faithfulness. I do not believe that he wants us to become doormats, submissive and unassertive. But clearly he urges us to set aside personal ambitions, the need for prestige, and personal accolades. As the mind of Christ grows in us, we require less for ourselves; we will care more about the needs of others.
Wow! This may seem a steep hill to climb! I prefer to view it as the journey of faithfulness that may take a lifetime. Our world needs more humble Christian witness. As we seek such maturing in faith, we may learn from the Christians around us who carry this mark of faith.

Holy Spirit, may humility and genuine caring grow in me day by day so that I may care for all your children. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 21:23-32

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Lectionary Week
September 25–October 1, 2017
Scripture Overview

The mercy of God is a theme that surfaces this week. In Exodus 17 Israel is not sure that God is faithful or reliable. By requesting water and voicing an urgent need, Israel appears to be testing God to discover God’s power and inclination. Psalm 78 praises Yahweh for grace in liberating the people from Egyptian bondage. Yahweh’s mercy sustained and supported them. Philippians 2 begins with a statement about the need for human kindness and compassion and then moves to the work of mercy that motivates human love—the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. In the reading from Matthew, the mercy of God, which is extended to those who normally receive no mercy, illustrates not only the inclusive nature of God’s grace but also how different the kingdom of heaven is from the kingdoms of this world.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Exodus 17:1-7. When has your “speaking out” been met with negative response? Have you ever felt you were standing too “close to the cross”?
• Read Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16. Today, listen for God rather than speak of God.
• Read Philippians 2:1-13. When have you emptied yourself and become a servant?
• Read Matthew 21:23-32. How well do your actions match your words in terms of obedience to the commands of Christ?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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