Sunday, September 24, 2017

Reflection and Renewal based on Philippians 3:4-10

Loving God,

You have called us to "take up our crosses and follow."  In the agony of crucifixion, we see the lengths you were willing to go to.

Sometimes we pay lip service to "taking up our crosses" and we believe it in theory ... but when we realize that this means suffering sacrificially for the sake of others, that it means seeking downward mobility, that it means subverting our ego's desire to dominate and control with strength, power and force; we find ourselves hesitant to "take up our crosses" in practice.

And sometimes in our efforts to follow, we get sidetracked into legalism and religious chauvinism, seeking our identity in contrast to those that our hierarchies exclude ... all in the name of Jesus - who welcomed anyone and everyone with radical inclusivism.

We often get it wrong. But the good news is that you are a God of infinite love; whose mercy never runs out and whose grace is bottomless.

We don't need to prove that we deserve that love by competing with others. We don't to need to try to distinguish ourselves from others by striving for religious achievements. You created everything and called it "good," and so you see us all as precious and valuable just by virtue of existing!

It's out of our gratitude for that radical grace that we are meant to love and serve. Forgive us for when we get this backwards. Thank you for the grace of giving us chance after chance after chance to live this out.