Archives: Philippians 2:1-13

What Are We Even Doing Here?

Do you know what the “canon within the canon” is?

When we talk about the “canon of scripture,” we simply mean the texts that we rely on as authoritative—the books that got picked to be in the Bible.

And the Bible is so large and complex that it is impossible to mentally hold the gist of every single chapter and verse. And so we have what we call “the canon within the canon.”

The canon within the canon is the scripture texts that speak to your heart with greatest depth.

They’re your favorites, the ones you come back to time and again, knowing they’ll have something new to say to you every time.

They’re the ones that come to your mind in times of darkness and times of joy, to give you strength and to express your exuberance in praise of God.

My canon within the canon contains some classics, like the Beatitudes (Blessed are the poor in spirit) and the Magnificat (My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord).

Many of the psalms are in my canon within the canon, and some bits of Isaiah, the gospels and the epistles.

But today’s passage from Philippians is one of my all time top five Bible texts.

It expresses to me everything I need to know about Jesus, and everything I need to know about what Jesus is asking me to do. Continue reading

The Adventure of the Undergrad Weekend Monastics

Changing our minds.  That’s not something we look on favorably.

In politics, if someone changes his or her mind on an issue, that person is labeled with the unflattering term “flip-flopper.”

We equate changing our minds with being indecisive, weak, unable to plant ourselves on firm ground and stand up for what’s right.

I think all the bluster around changing our minds is probably covering up a deeper simple fear of change.

The chief priests and elders are certainly stuck there in our gospel story this morning.

They feel like they have to defend the integrity of their tradition and hierarchy against Jesus, a stranger who is coming in and offering the word of God  and healing people without permission from anyone.

They can’t change their minds in front of the crowd.

They can’t look weak and indecisive by admitting they were wrong about John the Baptist.

But they do end up looking weak as they fall neatly into their own trap that they had set for Jesus.

Jesus is recommending that we change our minds, and he tells us a parable about it.  We have the one son who says he’ll help but doesn’t, and the son who says he won’t help in the vineyard but changes his mind and goes and does it.

Everyone immediately understands which son did the will of his father.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.’”

“You did not change your minds,” Jesus says.

You saw something great, but you did not allow it to act upon you and change your mind. Continue reading