Last week Ed and I watched “Gone with the Wind”
“There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South… Here in this pretty world Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and Slave… Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered. A Civilization gone with the wind… “
We were struck by Scarlett’s self-centered, claw her way to “success” no-matter-who-gets-trampled attitude. I’m appalled at the blatant racism, the depiction the black people as inferior, happy to serve, love-the-master. I’m appalled at the fact that this was a beloved movie for decades and that there were Christians who enjoyed watching it, and the reality that there were many who had the same mindset – which still continues.
Though far more veiled, and skilled at masking today, the attitudes of racism, hostility, anger, and prejudice are still here. We need to honestly examine the mind-set of that era and diligently look for the parallels in thinking and attitude today. We have to do better.
We humans are not good at changing generations of thinking and behaviors. We need Jesus. We need the Holy Spirit to instruct, to pull back the scales from our eyes and reveal the truth of our attitude, posturing and self-centeredness. We, as believers need to repent, and have a change attitude – taking on the attitude of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2 addresses how to have a change of mindset, perspective and life, in Christ.
2:1 If there is any encouragement in Christ… NEB “If then our common life in Christ yields anything to stir the heart… then there will be a harvest.
Gardening metaphor: careful preparation, diligent tending including pulling weeds before they get big, faithful appropriate watering, wise about conditions and seasons.
A garden is more successful when people work together in unity of vision and purpose.
God used Paul to express the unity that we ought to be sharing as people of Jesus. When we cultivate our life together in Chris our lives will yield a harvest of:
1) Consolation of love / encouragement “paraklesis” translated in other NT passages as “comfort” “exhortation” Jesus used this word for the Holy Spirit. Our guide, comforter, supporter, helper.
The idea Paul is conveying is the strong, upholding support within the Christian community.
2) Fellowship of the Spirit “koinonia” also translated as participation, communion, or sharing. This is the word that Paul uses in 1 Cor 10:16 “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a sharing/participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a sharing/participation in the body of Christ?”
Fellowship of the Holy Spirit is to participate and share.
Example of the Scotts Mills 4th of July Parade One person in the Scotts Mills FB page suggested a parade in town on the morning of the 4th. She wanted her children to enjoy this one traditional celebration. Would it be possible? Immediately people commented: “I’ll bring the old fire truck” another “My kids can lead their goat pulling a wagon with patriotic music playing and my husband playing his drum to the music.” “My kids want to decorate their bikes” “We can form down by the school” And on it went, the enthusiasm building a type of koinonia, each person contributing to the paraklesis. And within one week the community pulled off a wonderful parade that brought joy and happiness to the town.
Most remarkable was the fact that no one person organized it. There was no committee, no person in charge. No drama. People enthusiastically grabbed the opportunity to participate and stepping up with their skill and vision.
Think of how we followers of Jesus could change our corner of the world by having a vision then taking the initiative, jumping in and taking charge!
3) Affection and mercy/compassion Paul is referring to matters of heart, but with far more power and meaning that we normally attribute to affection. This affection is active expressive love – fully loving with the love of Jesus.
J.B. Lightfoot puts it this way: “I should rather have said that in the heart of Christ Jesus I long for you. This is a powerful metaphor describing perfect union. The believer has no yearnings apart from Jesus; his pulse beats with the pulse of Christ; her heart throbs with the heart of Christ.
Affection and mercy: the deepest and most tender of feelings for each another which are manifest in compassion and action.
2:2 Harmony in relationship NEB “Fill up my cup of happiness by thinking and feeling alike, with the same love for one another, the same turn of mind, and a common care for unity.”
The SM 4th of July parade is a great example of this. Watching the parade filled many people with joy and happiness.
2: 3 – 4 capture the uniqueness of our common life in Jesus Christ. To do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride. With humility consider each other as more important than yourself!
Not looking out for my own interests but the interests of others.
Abraham Maslow caused a radical shift in the field of psychology when he took an entirely different approach to Freud’s practice which studied sick, dysfunctional people.
Maslow decided to study people who were vitally alive, fully functioning, radiantly happy people. In the process he developed a theory called self-actualization and described a composite person whom he designated self-actualized. “Without exception, I found that every person who was sincerely happy, radiantly alive, was living for a purpose or a cause beyond himself.1
2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 11:29 Attitude of Jesus Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Don’t be a Scarlette O’Hara! Be like Jesus. He calls us to be gentle and humble in heart just as He is.
1 Maxie Dunham “Communicator’s Commentary, Vol 8 pg 279