I confess. I’m no fan of pedestals. (Except for the pedestal sink we’re thinking about)
When we make celebrities of humans, we create expectations for them and in them that are inhumane. And in the absence of boundaries, humans do not thrive.
Self-destruction stories fill our news feed and feed our gossip. Depending on the person in the story, we rejoice at their fall from grace or we lament the damage to the group we and they are part of.
When Paul says to think about whatever is noble, and we believe that to mean honorable or worthy of respect or dignified, I realize that some of us prepare to be disappointed. We’ve watch respected leaders crash, dignified leaders act in undignified ways.
But the text doesn’t say “whoever” is noble. It says “whatever” is noble. And noble is not about the trappings of power, the things that are done in relation to the royal family. Noble is in a way of living out character.
Earlier in Philippians, when Paul was talking about how to treat each other, he used the example of Jesus who abandoned position for humiliation. When he returned to his royal position, it was clear that his dignity, his being worthy of respect, was rooted in his capacity to serve, not to demand service.
For those of us who know the “Lord of the Rings”, Aragorn is far from having positional power for most of the book(s). There are other kings, other stewards, other influencers. But he is faithful and diligent. He acts with the compassionate caring and protection while no one notices or cares.
It’s a way of living that’s worth considering, worth pursuing. At least that’s worth thinking about.
If we are wanting to think about what is noble, we can reflect on Isaiah 53, where the indignities Christ suffered are outlined. We can reflect on Psalm 45, which starts out talking about reflecting on a noble theme.
And speaking of noble, it’s Nancy’s birthday today. “Compassionate caring and protection when no one notices or cares.” Indeed.