Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 9: May the Mind of Christ My Savior

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If I had to pick a theme hymn for our family, May the Mind of Christ My Savior would be it. Marc and I both fell in love with the hymn early in our BSF years and we sang it often with the kids. When Grace was baptized, Marc held her and sang it in front of the congregation. It's the only time I've ever seen him sing a solo before, and it was one of my favorite moments of all time.

When he sang it in church, however, he arranged to have the pianist play an extra verse because our church hymnal didn't include my favorite verse.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

As the years have passed, this verse has become even more significant for us. We now spend a good chunk of our lives watching Anna and Ryne run for their cross country and track teams, and because of that, I have a wonderful story to tell you.

We are blessed to have the kids on teams that are offered by Christian schools. In the spring they run for the track team affiliated with Anna's school; in the fall they run cross country for another school across town because her school does not have a cross country team. The cross country practices are about 25 minutes from our house, so I drive them to practice and then hang out in the car for a couple of hours. I use the time to read, work on my Bible study lesson, menu plan, sort mail, balance the checkbook, or whatever else needs to be done (sure wish I could fit the kitchen sink and all my dirty dishes in the back of the minivan). I've even taken a much-needed nap a couple of times!

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in the car, working on my Bible study lesson, and came to a question asking how those who closely follow Christ experience hostility and what hostility have I personally experienced. I tend to feel guilty when I have to answer questions like that because I really don't face any hostility. I live a cushy life where the majority of interactions I have are in the context of our church, the girls' school, the Christian homeschool community, and the Christian friendships we enjoy. Unless you count occasionally reading the online comments for CNN news articles (ever seen how much Christian-bashing goes on in the comments section?!), I really don't experience that much hostility because of my faith. If I were doing more to go out into the world and be more outspoken about my faith I would face more hostility.

I answered the question with pretty much what I just wrote, and then moved on to the next question. Thirty minutes later the kids were finishing up practice and gathering for the team devotional and prayer. They sat in a big circle with their Bibles in their laps, while a few upperclassmen and the coach led the devotional. Then they stood in the circle, like they do at the end of every practice and meet, and prayed. Sometimes they go around the circle and let everyone pray, so the prayer time isn't short.

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Meanwhile, a group of young men had just entered the park area where our team was gathered. The kids end their practice in the parking lot that is adjacent to a frisbee golf course. The group of young men were working their way through the course when they happened to spot our team circled up for prayer. The young men started mocking and taunting our team.

At first I didn't realize what was going on. All I could tell is that these men were yelling very loudly in a horsing-around manner. But then I realized they were making fun of our kids by offering up this mock prayer in their best Hollywood version of a southern preacher. "Ohhhhh, Lorrrrd!" they would yell and then burst into laughter. Honestly, I don't even remember what all they said, but there were several expletives involved. I do remember that they even "prayed" for the moms in their minivans, so that one was a little personal. ; )

The strangest emotions came over me and I had tears streaming down my face. I was appalled at how blatant they were being, but mostly I was just amazed at how just 30 minutes ago I was feeling discouraged because I never experience hostility. Are you ever tempted to think God's not paying attention to how you answer those Bible study questions? Not anymore!

While the hostility was really directed at our young athletes, I felt honored on their behalf.
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you (1 Peter 4:14).
However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name (16). 
Despite being mocked, the team just continued to pray.

Certainly, this incident cannot even compare to the type of suffering our brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of the world experience. Our team did not really suffer from the taunting. I think God had a different purpose here. Not only are my kids getting great exercise and gaining all kinds of valuable life experience that comes from being on a team, they are being encouraged and trained to run the spiritual race set before them. They are even learning to be strong and brave to face whatever hostility may come at them for believing in Jesus. In the small things they are being taught to more fully appreciate the sacrifice of their Savior.
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:23-24).
This hymn has been our prayer for our kids since they were babies. Before they could sing along with us, we sang it over them, substituting the words I and me with you and your. Praise God for all He has done in their lives to answer that prayer.

May the Mind of Christ, My Savior
Kate B. Wilkinson, 1925

May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and pow'r controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph 
Only thru His pow'r.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.


  1. The hostility we experience mostly comes from not participating in any activities during Church time. But nothing major until last spring. Luke's soccer coach called him out in front of his teammates about missing a game one Sunday morning during a tournament. A boy then asked if Luke would get a medal like the rest of them and he said front of all of the team. Luke didn't say anything. He was so angry when he got back to the car and told me what happened. Since Hannah practiced right after Luke (same coach), I had to wait. I knew I had to talk to him in person but in love, not anger. I did. The coach apologized to me and said he'd say sorry to Luke....sadly, it never happened....nor did he ever get that medal. It made for some great discussions with all of our kids.

    1. Wow, that would have been tough! I would have had a hard time talking to the coach -- probably would have sent Marc to do it. ; ) But I'm sure your kids will never forget that, nor the wonderful family discussion that resulted. It will give them strength someday when they go through this with their kids.