Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.“ Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV)
I have some trepidation writing about today’s text. I know so many people have experienced hurt in the church. People have the ability to ruin even the church with selfishness. It was meant to be so different! Paul begins by reminding us of the foundation of our experience of faith. We were united with Christ. He has set us free, and made us new. He has given us eternal life. With his resurrection, he shattered the worst weapons of our enemy. He has comforted us by his love. And he has drawn us into a new community by his Spirit. A community that is, in the first instance, with the Father and the Son, we read in 1 John 1:3. The Father has sent his Son to save us and lead us home through his Spirit. We are not alone on this journey. We are included in the network of love, extending from the Father’s throne, through the mediation of Jesus, brought to us by the Spirit. Where God’s new people gather, it should be an experience of tenderness and compassion – where the fruit of the Spirit abound!
That is what God had done. He has set us free and is busy healing us. He so wants to do that through his family, the church on earth. We have received Jesus’ one great command: “You must love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). Now Paul reinforces this command by reminding us – God has done so much to save us, heal us and set us free. Now we are called to live in unity. We are called to being like-minded, one in love, one in spirit, and one in mind. That does not mean we will be the same or think the same way about everything. I cannot think of one family with multiple generations who think exactly the same about everything. But unity in Christ means there is a place for me, exactly as God created me to be. I belong, I am part of the greater family of God. We are travelling on the same path, even if we do it in different ways. We all need a church that is known for its compassion and tenderness. Let us make it so for others!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you have created people in your image, even if we think we are so different. You have shown your mercy and compassion, and invited us into a relationship with you and with your family. Lord, help me to see other believers through your eyes. Help me not to be intimidated by people being different to me. Help me to rejoice in different people enriching my life with their uniqueness given by you. Help me to love all as you love me. Amen