My second year of seminary I took a class called Reading the Audiences. The main point of the class was to gain an understanding of how to enter into different faith communities and learn the background, structure, history, struggles, and joys of that community. At the beginning of each class we began with scripture and a prayer, not unusual at Luther Seminary. However, in this class we spent all ten weeks with this particular passage as our devotion. We read different translations, such as the NRSV, Message, etc. We read it out loud, silently, and with different emphasis on various words. We read it in pieces, as a whole, and more. Who knew there were so many different ways to read the same scripture passage! Even more, who knew there was so much to hear and learn from the same scripture passage! Each week that we pondered this passage, we heard God speak to us in a different voice. Sometimes a specific word or phrase caught our attention. Sometimes we felt challenged and at other times comforted. At some points confused or even frustrated. And yet, it was the same scripture passage. It came to show how much depth there is in scripture and how God speaks to us when we listen.
Often called the “Christ Hymn” we are told by Paul in this passage to have the same mind, same love, and to be in full accordance with Christ Jesus. Whoa Paul! Easier said that done! How can I, a broken and tattered human, be in the same mind as Jesus–the one who has no sin? How can I, a broken and tattered human, sacrifice the way Christ sacrificed for me? How can I, a broken and tattered human be humble, obedient, and lay everything out for God? And then I remember, it is not about “I”, it’s about the work God is doing. Continue reading