March 22: Imitating Christ

The Church of the Ascension Lenten Devotional

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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. 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.

— Philippians 2:3-6

Christian community is appealing in a myriad of ways. Learning and growing together, developing a shared spiritual identity, friendship, a sense of belonging, opportunities or service…there are many expressions of what community offers. Yet the idea of being called to imitate Christ through servanthood, in service to others, is a more challenging proposition.

I believe that taking on the “mind of Christ” is usually best learned by doing. A wise man, who as a child lived through the Great Depression, once told me about a vivid experience that taught him about humility. His mother would take him to their local Episcopal church each week, and together the members served hot soup and bread to the grateful lines of destitute people who stood for hours to get a hot meal. Humility is a tough quality to learn, but is an essential ingredient to servanthood. Sometimes I only learn what humility is about when I see someone take advantage of a situation, or my own ego gets in the way and pushes God’s love out of the equation. Then I learn what humility is not. Humility is not passive and requires strength to stand for justice and do the right thing. Servanthood imitates Christ’s sacrificial love for you and me. Each act of kindness we do for another brings us deeper into community with one another. Even a seemingly insignificant act of service, when done freely out of love, brings glory to God.

I am grateful to call the extraordinary Ascension community home. Your love and acts of service remind me that I am not alone, and that God deeply loves each one of us.

Amen

 

  • Psalm 119:9-16
  • Isaiah 43:8-13
  • 2 Corinthians 3:4-11

 

 

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Parish News:
February 5

This week: The rector shares a poem reflecting on part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as relayed in Matthew: “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.”

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