Pastor Carolyn Poteet

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March 8


Carolyn Poteet


"Better Together"


John 17:20-24
1 Corinthians

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March 5, 2020

"In your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus." 
- Philippians 2:5

Greetings in the Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

I spied several daffodils poking through the soil in the church's flowerbed this morning as the sun shone, and it was a wonderful reminder that we are drawing closer to the end of this gray winter. As we look forward to Spring, we also look forward to the celebration of Easter, when the resurrection reminds us that all life is made new through Christ.

In our preparation for Easter, we continue this Sunday in our walk along Spiritual Pathways, looking at practices that can draw us closer to God and to each other. This Sunday, we are looking at the practice - and challenge - of fellowship. What does it look like to be united as the Body of Christ? It is especially difficult because we humans are nowhere close to perfect!

As I was working on our prayers and readings for the traditional service this week, I spent some time with Philippians 2. The beautiful "Christ Hymn" in that chapter is an often-quoted poem to the humility of Christ on the cross and the victory of his resurrection. It starts by saying, Christ "did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, rather, he made himself nothing..." (Phil 2:6-7).

The hymn is beautiful all by itself, but Paul uses it in a particular way. He loved the church at Philippi. He cherished their friendship and support, and he was proud of them for their faithfulness. He uses the words joy and rejoice in Philippians more than in any other book. And yet, he saw a flaw. He saw that there was bickering. It was not a total disruption of fellowship like the church at Corinth, but it was still significant enough to be pointed out and corrected. He writes to them:

"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. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, who, though he was in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped..." (Phil 2:1-6).

You can just hear the opposite of these commands in his words. The church was probably being selfish, prideful, and entitled. They may have been jockeying for position and control. They were divided in their mindset.

To counter all these attitudes, Paul wanted to remind them of who they really were and who they really worshiped. Jesus Christ was GOD. He was at the pinnacle of everything that ever existed. And yet, he was willing to lay it all aside and humble himself, even unto death on a cross, so that we could be invited into his family. Shouldn't we do likewise?

How do we at MLEPC measure up, compared to the mindset of Christ? I read this and think of how many times I have failed at every item on the list. It is an impossible standard to meet, but that is not the end of the story. Through Christ's infinite grace and the Holy Spirit's power, we can be transformed to be more like him every day.

Here is the prayer of confession we will be using in the traditional service on Sunday. I invite you to pray it now and keep praying it as we seek God's guidance about how to do life together. May God transform us as individuals and as a community, so that His glory shines through us!

Holy God, you call us to love one another as you loved us, but we have failed over and over. We have not been like-minded with Christ or each other. We have not had the same love as Christ. We have not shared one spirit and one mind. We have been selfish and vain. We have not in humility valued others above ourselves. We have looked out for our own interests instead of the interests of others. We repent, Lord, and we ask for your forgiveness. By the power of Christ's humble sacrifice on the cross, wash us clean. Send Your Holy Spirit to transform our hearts so that we may be a truly united Body of Christ. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.
(Based on Phillipians 2:1-5)

Pastor Carolyn

News and Notes
  • Just a reminder to "Spring Forward" and turn your clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time which begins this Sunday, March 8. 
  • Schedule change due to the All-Church Retreat next weekend: There will be a single service at MLEPC on Sunday, March 15 at 10:00 a.m.
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