2019, May

Dear Friends,

This month I offer you another reading from the Apostle Paul, from one of my favorite letters, one that he wrote to the people of the church in Philippi, the Second Chapter, verses 4 – 11:
St. Paul writes: 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.
9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

As we look back to the wonderful celebration of Easter, remembering the promise of a life beyond compare, given to us through Jesus Christ, we live in trust and hope, expectant of a life of peace and love. ‘Though (Jesus) was in the form of God, (he) didn’t regard equality with God as something to be exploited.’

Our lives are not to be lived in exploitation of the people and things of this world, but rather in thankfulness for having shared the journey. Among the people that I have to thank is my mother who in March, six weeks before Mother’s Day, passed away at age 93. She was the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, wife of a Lutheran pastor and mother of a Lutheran pastor and she knew something about what it means to serve others. She lived a full and wonderful life in which she found ways to serve her neighbor. I am so glad that we shared the journey for 65 years and, of course, she will always be part of my life story. I hope that I have learned her lessons well, that serving others and honoring them is always preferable to mistreating and taking advantage of them.

How about your mom? What lessons did she teach you? Did you learn most of what you got from her by hearing or by her living examples of how to live life? How did she shape and make you? I think our moms would be the first to say that we are to cooperate and care about the people around us. But quoting St. Paul: ‘Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.’ I cannot think of a better way to summarize what moms do. They put other people’s interests before their own. Did your mom do that? Mine did.

What if we thought about other people before satisfying ourselves? What if we served others not looking to get something out of the deal, but just because it is the right thing to do? Then we would not be exploiting others but caring for the things and people of God.

Happy Mother’s Day to each of you whether you will see your mom on that day with your own two eyes or whether you will envision her in the tender folds of your loving memory.
Moms — They are the Best!
May God’s Peace be with you all

Your companion in Ministry,
Pastor Paul