Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4: 8-9, NSRV
Thoughts matter. We know this because, in Matthew 15, Jesus warned us to be attentive to what was in our hearts and what was on our minds. For those things in our hearts and minds do not remain buried within us, tucked away where no one other than ourselves are aware of them. Somehow they come out, whether it be through our words or actions, whether it be today or sometime next year or the next decade. And when they do, we either reflect the glory of God or of our lesser selves.
In the scripture above, St. Paul is urging us to let the words he has spoken form us and dwell in us. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise… All these things are the fruit of setting our minds and hearts on God and our participation in God’s kingdom right here and now. Paul is implying that we have a choice to make. Thoughts matter.
2020 has been a hard year to keep our thoughts and words corralled, hasn’t it? This novel coronavirus has given us novel life experiences, mostly those we would not have sought. Layered on top of these Covid-related life adjustments is the summer’s social upheaval or social reckoning, depending upon your perspective. And then came a fall with one of the most divisive and polarizing election seasons in our lifetimes. It has been difficult to keep our thoughts on God and God’s kingdom as we have stumbled forward through these challenging times.
Yet as we move into the post-election season that begins today, let us be deliberate and disciplined in returning our hearts and minds to Christ Jesus again and again. For in so doing, we become more attuned to God and God’s rhythm, and not buffeted by “the changes and chances of this life,” as we pray in one of our Collects. And we will know peace, the peace of God Himself that we, and all those around us, are so very much in need of having.