Daily Office Readings for Tuesday 16 April 2019 Holy Week Year 1
“Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you.” (Philippians 3:15)
I am an Education for Ministry (EfM) mentor. It is a Christian Formation program conducted by the School of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee. It is a four year program conducted at satellite Episcopal Churches and homes throughout the U.S. and abroad. Each Fall that we begin our academic year in my Fayetteville, N.C. group, we establish “Class Norms.” Along with confidentiality and other norms I always include the norm of deep listening which means accepting where others are in their theological journey. I always tell them that we all are evolving. Where we are this minute theologically, may not be where we are in a few minutes, a few days or by the time we finish EfM. Further, we must respect where others are and give them the space to grow.
By the time participants in EfM get to Year 4 they have a real grasp of what it means to listen. They also appreciate the many sessions of “Theological Reflection” that taught them how to process situations and how their Christian Tradition should inform their experiences. So those of Year 4 are like those Paul talks about who are mature and of the same mind.
I will also say that I have thought differently from other Christians about much of my Christian development and have taken some radical views about how I continue my journey. Just one small example is switching from wearing the cross to wearing an emblem of chalice and bread to represent my Christian beliefs. Our Christian tradition has, for the most part, used the cross to represent our faith. However it has come to my attention that the cross was a Roman instrument of death. And while we have Jesus saying “take up the cross and follow me,” such as this was written well after he was crucified. What we do have Jesus saying in Matthew, Mark, and Luke/Acts is to partake of the bread and wine – body and blood – as often as you do it in remembrance of me. This is a clear directive from Jesus as a way to remember him. I have other quirks but perhaps for another time.
The point I’m trying to make is that from time to time all of us think differently. It’s ok. Because we are free thinking Christians and no one way to follow Jesus should be forced on us. Paul tells the Church in Philippi and us that “if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you.”
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to the people of the Creating Word and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty is doing.” John Thomas Frazier Sr.