Aloha Friday Message – April 12, 2019 – In My Right Mind

1915AFC041219 – In My Right Mind

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   Philippians 2:5-8 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 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.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. This Sunday is the beginning of Passiontide, Palm Sunday of the Passion of The Lord. At week’s end, we will be in the Triduum. Friday, April 19th is Good Friday. You’ll probably get next week’s message on Holy Thursday, rather than Friday. The 19th also happens to be the 50th anniversary of our marriage, and Crucita and I are planning to celebrate with friends and family the following weekend. Lots of things happening in this month of April!

Today’s Key Verse is part of the Second Reading (Philippians 2:6-11) for this Palm Sunday in Year C. Based on its lyrical arrangement it is, perhaps, based upon a hymn, or perhaps some creedal form, known to the Apostle Paul and his intended audience in Philippi. It is a beautiful summary of everything about the reality of the Christ, not just historically, but also prophetically and theologically. There is a very powerful meaning in the opening words – Let the same mind be in you – and that is what we will investigate today.

We’ve all heard someone say, “He must be out of his mind!” Or “Nobody in their right mind would think or do such a thing.” When the Apostle Paul speaks of being “of the same mind,” he is presenting a very specific teaching. The little meme up there expresses it in more modern English – have the same attitude that Christ has. In this case, the root word is φρονέω (phronéō) {fron-eh’-o} (from /phrḗn, “the midriff or diaphragm; the parts around the heart,” J. Thayer). This form, phronéō, connotes something internal and visceral being manifested cognitively – what we feel becomes shown in what we think and do. Our personal opinion, our “self-talk,” our attitude – these come together so that they conform cooperatively with the personal opinion, presentation, attitude of another (or others). Whose attitude(s) should we try to match? The Apostle Paul lets us know it the next five words: that was in Christ Jesus. This is an important concept, something we should try to understand. The Apostle Paul felt it was important enough to spell it out several times: Romans 12:16, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Philippians 2:2, Philippians 2:5, and Philippians 4:2.

The Apostle Paul is exhorting us to take on Christ’s humility for though he was in the form of God, [he] did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited …. Now, one thing we can see right off in this short phrase is that he was in the form of God. I include that for the folks who somehow mistakenly believe that Jesus set aside his divinity so he would be 100% human. This is a heresy. Jesus was fully human and fully divine simultaneously. It is a Mystery of Faith earthlings cannot and do not understand intellectually, but can accept as a matter of Faith. Christ, then, being fully human and fully divine lived in humility so great that he surrendered everything to God The Father. Even everything he said and did was from The Father. His will, his attitude, his opinion of himself and his mission was from God. Jesus put everyone – yes, EVERYONE – ahead of himself. That was his mindset, his attitude, his self-image if you will. Here is the result as it is found in Philippians 2:1-4 1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

When The World sees us even trying to act like that, we get painted as “Little Goodie Two-Shoes,” a children’s story written by that World Famous Poet, Anonymous, and published by John Newbery in London in 1765. The story gave rise to the use of the phrase “goody two-shoes” as a derogatory label for an extremely righteous and even intrusive person while at the same time it surreptitiously mocked the main character as being too-good-to-be-true and actually self-important. Jesus isn’t like that. In our right mind, we shouldn’t be like that either because – despite what The World thinks – being good for goodness’ sake is an unambiguous form of humility similar to this: And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross. That’s no “Goodie Two Shoes” attitude. That is the attitude of The Suffering Servant, the kind of person who understands and commits to – Servant Leadership. How many of us can really Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves? That list of verses I gave you a few lines back demonstrate the value of that mindset. Yet how in the World do we attain it?

The answer is, of course, that we cannot attain it in The World. It comes through the Holy Spirit, and it comes in the Spirit when we can arrive at that point in our hearts and minds (and souls, it seems) of metanoia. We repent of our arrogance and take on the nature of Christ. Here in Romans 8:9, we find another of those “pesky” conjunctive phrases: You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed* the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. New English Translation (NET) NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.
*εἴπερ (eiper) {i per} – since, if it is true that, if perhaps, if indeed, if after all, if only. How, indeed, does the Spirit of God live in us?

We do that by imitating – even better, emulating – Christ Jesus. When we imitate Christ, we try to copy, model, mimic, or style ourselves to simulate his thoughts and actions. When we emulate Christ,  we live so as to equal or match his mindset and actions; we desire to excel at being as well-esteemed and correct as Christ, not just copying him. Honestly, Belovéd, I find this to be extremely difficult. As I said last week, I’m not a Perfect Loser. There are things within my sphere of influence that I believe I should be able to control, but cannot. There are things outside my sphere of influence that in know I cannot (i.e., should not) try to control, and yet I do. I cannot even imitate Christ, much less emulate him. It seems hopeless.

And yet …

The Holy Spirit provides. Here is another way to look at this whole idea of being wholly holy. It’s one of those Internet floaters that I often think about but can never remember. It’s called

The Quilt of Holes

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us our lives were laid out like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare, and empty, like binding air together with smoke.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, somehow only to muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. A gasp of surprise filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, “Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.”

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through! God determines who walks into your life….it’s up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.

When there is nothing left but God that is when you find out that God is all you need.
~~  Anonymous

And so, Belovéd, it is not we –  not you, not I – who can emulate Christ to “be of the same mind” as his, for it all depends on if indeed only the Holy Spirit is emulating him in us. Then, truly, are we in our right mind because our mind in us is right.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Biblical languages inserts from Bible Hub (Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages) Visit at http://biblehub.com

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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