MU Devotion Sunday 27th September – Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity
Have you noticed that it is much easier to believe something if it suits your world view? It is lovely to have our choices backed up by supposed ‘facts’. Surveys which conclude that the town you live in is the most friendly or the breed of dog you have is the best companion are much easier to accept than the ones which say your hometown is unwelcoming or your dog breed is aggressive. I suspect such self-interested thinking is behind some of the Covid-19 conspiracy theories, which seem to be prevalent now. Nobody wants to have their movements restricted, so it is far easier to argue that it is unnecessary. Unnecessary because the virus really does not exist or cannot harm you, than it is to admit you just resent having to stay in, to keep other more vulnerable people than yourself safe.
Now, I am not suggesting that any of us feel that way, but we are all prone to a bit of grumbling and resentment about the actions of others. Be it the people in power who are taking the decisions which affect our daily lives or those who have failed to follow the previous regulations which had led to the current situation.
The reading today from Paul’s letter to the Philippians teaches us so much about how to live, particularly in such trying times. To act with humility rather than selfish ambition. To put the interests of others before ourselves. To act as Jesus:
who, 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
No one wants the new restrictions that we are under now, but most of us accept that they are necessary. Asking Jesus for help with letting go of our own self-interests in order to serve others, will help us with our grumbling and any potential resentments. Let us be honest, being restricted in our movements involves so much less self-emptying than our Lord and Saviour did when he humbled himself by accepting death on the cross with the weight of all our sins on his frail human body.
Please help us face our current situation with humility and a willingness to serve our sisters and brothers in our communities. We pray for the emotional strength to see us through the next six months or so. Guide all those who are working to produce a vaccine, the scientists, doctors and those who have volunteered for clinical trials.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
With all my love and prayers