Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lenten Devotion: Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18

Ash Wednesday, February 18
Laguna Beach United Methodist Church

Scripture: Philippians 2:5-11
Rev. Mandy Sloan Flemming

This scripture, the Christ hymn, is an incredibly powerful passage for me. It is a call for us to be to one another as Christ has been to us, which is humble, kind, and filled with compassion.

Paul writes this letter to the Philippians, as an encouragement in their mission to share the Gospel. This text is equalizing, and removes the possibility of pride or judgment.

The person whom we are to embody is Christ, and Christ alone. The person of Christ “did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave.” How challenging is this message for us? When we need our Christ to be vindictive and overpowering, he is humble and servant-like. When we need our Christ to be particular and attuned to our individual needs, he beckons us to listen to the cries of those who are in the most need. Because he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death.

So, too, are we called to “die to self,” that we might put the needs of our sisters and brothers ahead of our own. In this, we receive the kingdom, for the kingdom is not filled with gold or treasures, but with powerful and loving relationships which provide us all that we need.

We share, as brothers and sisters in Christ, the ability to claim Jesus as our savior, but this does not give us the right to doubt the faith or needs of others. Rather, it calls us to sing this hymn in a unified voice, so that “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Prayer: Gracious God, Let us humble ourselves that we might become more like you. Let us die to self that we might find abundant life in you. Free us, that we may serve you fully. Amen.