Hallwood Ecumenical Parish
Bethesda, Palace Fields & St. Mark’s, Beechwood
Church of England – Methodist – United Reformed Church
27 September 2020
A Christ-like Attitude
“Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.”
This is not a direct quotation from the Prime Minister’s speech on Tuesday but the core of his message was similar. When we went into “lockdown” in the spring there was a spate of panic buying and hoarding, revealing the selfishness that is innate in human personality. This resulted in shortages of food and other essentials, affecting everyone especially the most vulnerable. Fortunately, as we became used to the new restrictions, the better nature of people came to the fore as caring for and sharing with one another became the order of the day. It is this attitude of respect for others that is needed not just as the pandemic resurges but in every sphere of life.
The quotation above is from Paul’s letter to the small but growing church at Philippi (ch.2 v.4), the first church he set up in Europe. In common with other recently founded Christian communities, they were on the defensive not against some disease but against the influence of their society trying to infect their minds to persuade them to give up their new way of living. At Philippi, however, there was additional pressure from disunity within the fellowship, not least from those who wanted them to keep following Jewish customs. In his letter, Paul bids them to stop their quarrelling and work together in unity and harmony. Their whole attitude should be to imitate Christ, in love, humility and mutual care.
The pandemic and ongoing restrictions are putting our churches under strain. Members are stressed and worried as the certainties we once had have been swept away. But with a Christ-like attitude we can guard against despondency and division as we rejoice that:
“Our life in Christ makes us strong and his love comforts us.
The Spirit has brought us into fellowship with one another.” (Phil.2 v1)