Summary: FROM MANY,ONE IN CHRIST
E PLURIBUS UNUM
"E Pluribus Unum" was the motto proposed for the first Great Seal of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson in 1776. A Latin phrase meaning "One from many," the phrase offered a strong statement of the American determination to form a single nation from a collection of states.
Over the years, "E Pluribus Unum" has also served as a reminder of America’s attempt to make one unified nation of people from many different backgrounds and beliefs. The challenge of seeking unity while respecting diversity has played a critical role in shaping our history, our literature, and our national character.
Americans understand what it means to be "many". Americans are distinctly different from one another as individuals, but we don’t separate ourselves because of differences of nationality, class, gender, race, religion, occupation, or the region in which we live.
(E PLURIBUS UNUM PROJECT)
In today’s text we have a letter from Paul to the church at Philipi, in which he is encouraging unity, to be of one mind.
Paul continues in this chapter where he left of in the 1st, encouraging Christians to practice a common faith, to be like minded, even lowly minded.
Paul encourages the Philippians and us to follow the example of Jesus, one of humility and love. We are of the same mind when we have the same love.
Christians should share the same affection for each other that Jesus has for us.
This is always in our power, and is also our duty. “Having the same love”.
Philippi was a chief city in the western part of Macedonia. It took its name from Philip the famous king of Macedon, who repaired and beautified it. And it later became a Roman Colony.
But it was most well known among Christians for this epistle, which was written when Paul was in prison in Rome, about 62 A.D. Paul seems to have a particular fondness for this Church. Probably because it is one he himself had started. Even though he had a responsibility to all the churches, he had a fatherly love for the Church at Philippi. Having “begotten them by the spirit”, He considered them his children, and nourished them in the same Gospel.
(Matthew Henry Commentary, Book intro)
The Church at Philippi had humble beginnings much like our own country, they were small in number, and yet they shared a common faith and knew that their survival depended on their unity.
In his letter Paul encouraged them to greater faith and called them to be more Christ like in their dealing with each other.
In 1630, at Massachusetts Bay on the Atlantic coast near the place called Plymouth Rock, On board the ship, the Arabella, John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company Challenged the Puritan settlers to establish a new kind of Christian community.
Governor Winthrop said: we must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly affection, we must delight in each other, make others condition our own, rejoice together, labor and suffer together.
In our community as members of the same body, so shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us. Governor Winthrop knew they were in this together; No one person could go it alone.
Do you see the similarity; the common theme in both is unity, working together for the common good of all.
We as Americans are a diverse group, we are separated geographically, we are separated politically. We as a church are separated by denomination, yet we share a common Ideology. In times such as now, when our country in inundated with hurricanes, flooded homes, disaster after disaster, people’s lives are disrupted, families torn apart from each other, still we come together as a common people reaching out to those in need. Some risking their lives to save others, and they are quick to say; we are just doing our job! They are not looking for glory, but they are acting in humility.
We are, as a church, at a point in time when we need, more than ever to reach out to a lost and hurting people. We see declining membership. Older congregations, and many Churches closing their doors. It is as if we are practicing behind closed doors. I recently heard the comment “they are not like us”, I hate that. If Jesus had said, To The Jews Only, where would we be? Not to the gentiles, “they are not like us”.
If, as Paul says, for us to be Christ like, we have to include those who “are not like us” then we need to reconsider who we are.
Jesus kept company with the tax collector and the prostitutes and if he hadn’t we would not have hope for a heavenly home. Are we then better than Jesus?