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By: Rev. Bill Poland
Director for Connectional Ministries and Interim Assistant to the Bishop
Read: Philippians 2:5-11
When I was going through my teenage years, I would often hear my mom say, “Watch that attitude!” or even more severely, “I will talk to your dad, and he might have to give you an attitude adjustment!” Let me tell you, attitude adjustments can be a painful thing!
Those adjustments were necessary when I would forget who I was. I was often trying to be someone I was not, or I became so self-centered that I thought the world rotated around me and what I wanted. I failed to realize I was part of a family who had needs and wants too. My family loved me, and I needed to demonstrate my love in return. I needed to remember who I was.
As we celebrate Palm/Passion Sunday and the last week of the season of Lent we are tempted to rush through to Resurrection Sunday. The passage I chose for us to read today doesn’t focus on the palms and shouts of Hosanna! Nor does it focus on the cross. It is an invitation to focus on Jesus. This passage from Philippians contains for me some of the most powerful words in all of scripture:
“Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and becoming like human beings. When he found himself in the form of a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
This is the very person of God revealed in stark humility. “Look at him!” those jeering him would say. I say yes! Let’s look at Jesus.
During this same week, he broke bread with the words, “Take!” “Eat!” “This is my body broken for you.” “Do this in remembrance of me!” Jesus' body was indeed broken as he hung on the cross. But not his spirit. He never forgot who he was, who he is.
Today, the Body of Christ is broken. We are splintered, distrustful, anxious, and angry searching for a scapegoat: someone to blame. We too often bear more resemblance to the crowds shouting one day, “Hosanna!” and soon after, “Crucify him!” We too quickly forget we are the Body of Christ, and we need an attitude adjustment, to “Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus.” We need to be “re-membered” into the Body of Christ.
As we enter this final week of Lent, I invite you to pause and slowly read this passage of the letter to the Philippians as a prayer. To soak in its meaning. To seek to adopt the attitude that is in Christ Jesus. Remember who you are and who Christ is calling us together to be! The world needs us. And as Jesus said, “everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (John 13.35 CEB)