Devotional Thought of the day:
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:1-5 (NLT)
That is what Jesus Christ teaches us. Mankind awaited the coming of the Savior for centuries. The prophets had announced his coming in a thousand ways. Even in the farthest corners of the earth, where a great part of God’s revelation to men was perhaps lost through sin or ignorance, the longing for God, the desire to be redeemed, had been kept alive.
When the fullness of time comes, no philosophical genius, no Plato or Socrates appears to fulfill the mission of redemption. Nor does a powerful conqueror, another Alexander, take over the earth. Instead a child is born in Bethlehem. He it is who is to redeem the world. But before he speaks he loves with deeds. It is no magic formula he , because he knows that the salvation he offers must pass through human hearts. What does he first do? He laughs and cries and sleeps defenseless, as a baby, though he is God incarnate. And he does this so that we may fall in love with him, so that we may learn to take him in our arms.
We realize once again that this is what Christianity is all about. If a Christian does not love with deeds, he has failed as a Christian, besides failing as a person. You cannot think of others as if they were digits, or rungs on a ladder on which you can rise, or a multitude to be harangued or humiliated, praised or despised, according to circumstances. Be mindful of what others are—and first of all those who are at your side: children of God, with all the dignity that marvelous title entails. (1)
I have been struggling a lot this week. Serious, soul wrenching struggle.
I originally thought the struggle was with other men, other men who, like me are called to shepherd the people of God. I thought my struggle was with them because of actions and words that I have seen that divide the church more. In one scenario, men are in opposition, not directly, but from bunkers of anonymity. Both claim this is necessary because of a “fear of reprisal”. They actually both use that phrase, but I am not sure who they are afraid of, each other or some mythical third party?
Part of my angst, my struggle is found in wondering if this is Christ-like, or more specifically, if the adversaries think it is Christlike. Even though I resonate with one side more than the other, I am repelled by the actions and secrecy of both sects. To be honest, there are days I want to utter a Shakespearean curse, “the pox on both your houses”.
Until I realize my angst is with neither group, my struggle is not in their ethical challenge. My struggle is with my trust in God, the God whom Joseph had faith, telling his brother that what they meant evil, God used for good. Or the promises of Paul that all things work for good for those who love God, and nothing can separate us from His love.
As I enter the arena of the discussion between these two sects, it must be with an attitude that Paul describes in the red above. Imitating Christ by being on one mind striving for that in love. it is too easy to harangue and argue, to be dismissive and even paranoid. It takes great faith to work for the reconciliation that Christ wants to see in the life of HIs people. If we see that we are reconciled to Him, then er can realize, and only then can we realize, we are brothers and sisters, the family that God loves,
Lord have mercy upon us, and may we love and pray for each other,
Escriva, Josemaria. Christ is Passing By (Kindle Locations 1227-1239). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.