Wednesday Wondering - September 30, 2023
Philippians 2: 1 - 8
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 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. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.
Have you ever had one of those days? Or maybe for you it has been weeks, or months, or even years, those times when it seems as if nothing is going the way that you hoped it would go. I have been thinking about those times in my life, and in some ways I feel as if I have been existing in one right now. We quite often look to the world as our gauge for whether our lives are successful or not. We look to what the world says we need in our lives in order to be complete, to be worthy, to be successful, and in all honesty it is sometimes very difficult to live up to the expectations of society and the world. So what then is the whole purpose of all of this? If we struggle to live up to the expectations of who the world says we should be, or who the world says we need to be, what to we do?
The scripture from Paul’s letter to the community at Philippi speaks deeply to how we are called to live in the world. It doesn’t speak of attaining wealth, or property, or status for oneself, no, it speaks to a very simple thing and that is that we are to love. That is our mission in life, to love. It seems so simple and yet it is so difficult in our world today. Yes, it might be a challenge for each of us to love, but it is loving that we follow Christ. The wonderful artist Vincent Van Gogh stated, “It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” Emile Zola, the French novelist, journalist, and play write was reported to have said, “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” We too are called to live our lives ‘out loud’ and to do this we must love largely.
Our challenge as Christians is to love humbly, to love others so that they feel that they are worthy. We are challenged to love because loving is never wasted. As we come to love also come to know that we are loved, that God loves each of us, as we are right now, not as the world tells us we need to be. So the world might tell us that we don’t measure up, that we don’t have enough, that we aren’t good enough, but our faith tell us that our love is always enough. When we love we emulate Christ who came to love everyone, not just the few, but everyone. To love, it is not easy to do in the world today, but it is what we are called to do and we are called to do it loudly. We are called to proclaim our love to the world, for our love needs to be for the world. So when it seems as if nothing is going right in your world, I invite you to remember that what we really need to do is to love and as Van Gogh said, when we love, everything that we do is done well.
God of deep infinite love, we ask that you be with us as struggle through this thing called life. Help us to hear your call to love over the calls of the world. The calls of the world that tell us that we are not enough, that we are not worthy, that are lives are not worthy. Help us to recognize your love for us, just as we are, and then give us the courage to love others as we have been loved. We ask this in the name of Love Incarnate, your son, Jesus. Amen.