Tuesday, September 20, 2011


When I was a teacher, I often had children come to me complaining that other children were "copying" them.  No, they were not concerned about people cheating or copying their work.  They were annoyed because others were playing that game that children will play where they repeat everything that someone else says or do actions that others do.  The person who is being "copied" often yells at them and tells them not to copy them which is exactly what the copycat says back to them.  That annoyance sometimes resulted in fighting between children so we had to put a stop to it immediately. 

Adults sometimes copy others, many times not even realizing that they are doing so.  When one is around another person for an extended period of time, some people often find themselves repeating words that the other person says often or saying the words in the style that the person uses when they talk.  Many people pick up the accent of the region in which they live.  They can often be identified by the accent they have that others in the area use. 

When I lived in East Texas, people in that region of Texas had a distinctive way of saying certain words.  Sometimes a long I sound would replace a short a sound OR an aaa sound would replace a long Y sound.  The people in East Texas do not notice that they say their words in the distinctive way that they do, but once you have been removed from East Texas you may notice it when you return there.  When I have traveled in other parts of the country, some people will tell me that they knew I was from Texas because of the accent I have. 

This Sunday we will be looking at the book of Philippians during the sermon, specifically chapter two.  Paul is writing to the church at Philippi, urging them to be more like Christ.  He quotes from what many believe is an ancient hymn of the church, a hymn to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  It tells what Jesus did that makes him worthy to be worshipped as God, Lord, and Savior.  "...though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."  (Philippians 2:6-8)  Paul was telling his readers/listeners that Jesus had every right to claim the benefits of being God when he came to the earth but gave all that up so that he could live a life that other humans lived and could identify with the human condition, even the most dreadful fate that humans during that time period could suffer. 

Paul encourages the Church to imitate the humility that Christ exhibited and to strive to serve others even as Christ served all as a slave to all.  Christ's full obedience to all that humans would suffer gave him the right to be exalted so that all humanity would recognize his sacrifice and obedience someday.  Paul tells them to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (2:12) so that they would lead lives pleasing to God. 

People who are Christians tend to live similar lives and exhibit characteristics that are similar in many ways.  They do not always agree on all the details but most sincere Christians desire for peace to reign and for justice to prevail.  They want the poor to be helped and the stranger to be befriended.  They want life in general to be good for all persons.  They want discrimination to end and equality to be the way of life.  We may not agree on social mores at times but we tend to agree on social issues that will bring about a knowledge of God's love in the world around us. 

"Be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind..." (2:2b)  In other words, copy the good things you see in life as you live among one another.  Encourage one another to do good works and to think about good things.  And the God of peace will be among you.  Amen. 

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