From time to time, my dad would remind me that “every person you meet is your better in that you can learn something from them.” Good and sage advice. I wonder if he knew he was echoing Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote: “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” Of course one can then ask if the quote is original to Mr. Emerson.
Perhaps he was influenced by our first reading today from The Letter to the Phillipians in which St. Paul writes: “humbly regard others as more important than yourselves” and I think that starting from that posture, the opening words of letter become easier to understand:
To live encouraged by the life and example of Christ who did not see divinity as something to grasp, but rather humbled himself. (cf. Phil 2:6-8) Humbled himself, becoming one of us. Such is the importance He placed on each one of us. All in the hope that we would find “solace in love, … participation in the Spirit, … [and live a life of] compassion and mercy.”
Jesus did this for every man, every woman, everyone. For that person who met on your walks.
Image credit: Permission to use in not-for-profit settings. (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD
“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself” (Phil 2:6-8)