As a parent, there is nothing more eye-opening and humbling than to hear our words and see our actions reflected back to us by our children. When our small child rebukes her doll in the same tone of voice we have used, or when our school-aged child reprimands us for using bad or unkind language, we realize just how carefully they are watching and imitating us.
In this reading, Paul encourages us to adopt Christ-like attitudes in all aspects of our lives. Both individually and collectively, we are to imitate Jesus’ actions. If we are a community shaped by Christ, we need to strive for harmony, thinking not only of ourselves, but also looking to the interests of others. (verse 4) Of course, we will never be perfect reflections of Christ; Christian living is an ongoing process of transforming our attitudes and actions. And even our desire and energy to follow the example of Christ is a gift from God. (verse 13).
So what do people see when they watch us? Do you think they can see a reflection of Christ in us and our congregations?
Gifting God, thank you for showing us how to live in a way that reflects the grace and salvation you have given us. May we reflect Christ in our words and actions. Amen — JN