Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 63; 149, Zechariah 14:12-21, Philippians 2:1-11, Luke 19:41-48
The media often portrays Christians as some sort of monolithic hive-mind, acting and reacting in unison. The truth is, we are all over the map on social and political issues, and understanding or representing anything deeper than a caricature of us takes more work and nuanced thought than the average broadcaster or viewer will invest.
The fault may be partially our own. We each have an assumption of what it means to be Christian, and by default tend to project it onto other Christians until they prove otherwise. Now that doesn’t mean we necessarily buy into the definition we are projecting; some of us assume other Christians will agree with us, and others assume we will be opposed on some issues. It can be tempting to say someone isn’t a “real” Christian if they think differently than we do, or to quickly make it clear we aren’t one of “those” Christians. Either way, too often we limit what it means to be Christian, making it that much easier to stereotype us.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul advises them to “be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” In our diversity, have we betrayed that advice? Is it any longer possible for the diverse universe of Christians to be in “full accord?” It is if we look at how Paul defined it:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
There isn’t one word of dogma in there. No specific religious practice. It says to look out for others first. That means listening more than convincing. Learning more than preaching. Serving more than insisting. Loving more than condemning. If I’m putting you first, and you’re putting me first, we aren’t even agreeing on who is first – but we are acting in accord. Following Christ isn’t about insisting others believe exactly as we do, but on serving them exactly as we believe Christ would have us do.
Comfort: You can love and serve Christians who think differently than you do.
Challenge: You have to love and serve Christians who think differently than you do.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to be your humble servant to all people. Amen.
Discussion: Beyond accepting Jesus, do you think there is a minimum set of beliefs necessary to be a Christian?
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