Reflections on the Readings
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost
September 28, 2014 - Year A
Let Us All Pull Together
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 4:1-4)
The words are etched in my Pentecostal memory. I suspect it's because I read them hundreds if not thousands of times. Not only did I read them on the way out of church, but it was something to look at whenever I squirmed enough to be turned around in my seat. After all, we did go to church Sunday morning and evening. There was prayer meeting on Wednesday night and Youth service on Friday night. So there was ample opportunity to read the sign above the door leading back into the world: "Let us all pull together, for we won't be here long."
I have mused on these words many times through the years since those days. I think of them almost every Good Friday at the Ecumenical Good Friday service at my parish each year. Somehow we manage to lay aside what divides us one time a year and gather at the foot of the Cross and pray together - a real participation in the Spirit takes place as we come together having the same mind and the same love for Christ.
The relationships we have in the Body of Christ are sacred because together we stand on level ground at the foot of the Cross. No one is better than the other or more saved than the other. The precious blood of the Lamb washes over each of us with love that shows no partiality. Writing to the Church at Corinth Paul pastorally explains the reality of being lost and then found in the friendship of the Savior saying, But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."
Today we hear from the same Apostle Paul who says to the Church at Philippi, "But in humility count others better than yourselves." These words contain the secret to the power and strength and resolve in that saying posted above the doors of my church long ago. Those words are a precious reminder that we are brothers and sisters in Christ because Christ loved us and died for us while we were yet sinners.
At the tender age of nine I knelt at the foot of the Cross and asked Christ into my heart. Love mingled with the Blood of Christ bathed away the corruption in this son of Adam and I became a new creature in Christ Jesus. Since that moment the old has been passing away and everything about me is becoming new. My Creator is also my Redeemer and the life that I now live I live by faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders, "When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him."
Dear brothers and sisters, may we be free of an attitude of selfishness or conceit in our fellowship and let us rather in humility esteem one another in love, and pull together, for life is too short, and we won't be here long! Amen.
Dennis Hankins, a Catholic Evangelist, is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN. Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com