The second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is one of my favorite passages from the letters of Paul.
I was first moved by the central part of the chapter, verses 6 to 11, possibly an early hymn that celebrates the emptying of Christ Jesus. I particularly love the chant rendition used on Holy Thursday.
But reading the whole chapter presents us with a profound challenge. In verse 5 Paul challenges us to think and feel as Christ Jesus did.
Paul wants us to be a people who live as Christ did.
What particularly struck me this morning were verses 3 and 4, in The Christian Community Bible translation:
…let each one of you gently consider the other
as more important than yourselves.
Do not seek your own interest,
but rather that of others.
Gently – or humbly – consider the other as more important than me?
You mean that the world does not revolve around me?
That others are more important than me alone?
I think Paul is saying this because that’s the way we find our true joy – in having “one love, one spirit, one feeling.”
It’s not about me; it’s about us in Christ.
It is not about my desires in themselves; it’s about how my desires go beyond me, joining me to Christ and to others.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t care about myself. It’s a reminder that I am not alone; I am part of the Body of Christ and find my fullest join in union with God and others.
In this way God can fill us with love, joy, and grace – and we can become fulfilled persons, God’s holy people.