sexta-feira, 19 de junho de 2015

TRUE GLORY


In your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be
used to his own advantage;
rather,
he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness..

Philippians 2:5-7 (read 2:5-11) - NIV

What was the "mindset” of Jesus? It was an unassuming humility. In a consumer society that is difficult. We are taught to look not only at "our own navel" but also to desire things. A person is considered to be a failure if he or she isn’t able to better himself or herself in life. Our idea of success is based on prosperity and power. Whoever cannot reach them becomes a second-class citizen, living on the margin of society, depending on subsidies and being accused of being lazy by the religious right.

If Jesus came again as he was reported to have done 2,000 years ago, what would be his lifestyle today? Could we imagine a black American Jesus? Let's imagine his birth taking place in a slum of Detroit to a poor girl who got married in a hurry, because she discovered that she was pregnant. Who would believe that she was a virgin? Her daddy, being a religious man, forced her boyfriend into a shotgun wedding. Jesus would be malnourished, dark skinned and badly dressed. He would follow his family’s religious tradition to a certain point, but would be indifferent to many of its practices and customs. He would be looked down on by the moralists as being suspect, because he associated with the wrong crowd: girls with loose morals, drinkers, addicts, poor, gay and AIDS victims and would disturb those who profit on the human misery. The fact that Jesus held no job and was beginning to attract people through his kindness and his criticism of the social order turned him into a threat to society. The authorities would get rid of him through violence.

Our image of Jesus as a tall, blond, blue-eyed, clean, sweet smelling patriotic American has nothing to do with the historical Jesus. He probably was short, brown, smelly and unkempt. There was nothing romantic in his appearance. His compassion and human solidarity made him stand out. His beauty and glory was his presence with those whom society had abandoned.

The recommendation of the Apostle Paul in the above text, "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus" is frightening. Are we ready for this? Are we ready to rethink our Protestant or Catholic mindsets?

Do we have the courage to leave the security of our closed system of pietism and our isolation from the world? Do we really want the glory of Christ? Do we have enough faith to practice the mindset of Jesus? Do ornate temples and large concentrations of selected Christians for their own spiritual growth reflect the gospel that Jesus lived? Is our church structure with the privileges and status that it confers an elite minority in accordance with the humility of Jesus?

Some think that it would be a blessing to the Gospel if all temples were destroyed or turned into cultural museums and Christianity banned. Christians would then be forced to live their faith with courage and humility. The glory of the gospel is the miracle of love. Our challenge: to love as Jesus loved. God will do the exalting.

 

PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,

    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing

    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,

    being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

    he humbled himself

    by becoming obedient to death—

        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father

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