Reflect: Plato thought that poets were his rivals, always trying to outdo philosophy. Actually, poets speak truth to power, and this passage today is poetry, sheer poetry, gob-smacking poetry. It laughs the devil out of court, it leaves the philosophers standing, it calls the poor, the artists, the excluded and says, ‘Look at Jesus, look who he was, look how he is – worship him and you will really be on the side of the angels!’
But it cost him. It cost him everything. So the work we do, we do humbly, on tiptoe, completing in our life and circumstance what Jesus began. . . but of course, then we discover it was God working in us all the time. Sounds a bit odd, until you realise that Jesus is both divine and human, and that God always works through Jesus, in the one Spirit. What worked out in his life is starting to work out in ours, as we look out for one another’s interests and (of course) have nothing to do with disgruntlement.
Pray: God, Maker of all, Saviour of all, Renewer of all, work out your great purpose in me, and those for whom I pray this day…
Keep me humble Lord, keep me shining Lord, in all I say and do,
That the world may see Christ lives in me and learn to love him too. Amen.
1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.