April 19, 2011

April 19: I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus


By Odelet Nance, director of the Multicultural Affairs Office
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

When I was a child growing up at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, music was a key component of the worship experience. On any given Sunday at Mt. Zion, you could hear the following lyrics of this traditional spiritual being supported by drums and an organ with a gospel flair: “I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus. I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus. Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah.” With much clapping, swaying and dancing, the congregation excitedly engaged in worship and praise.

Now that I am older, I am able to critically assign meaning to the lyrics of the song. As I examine Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” I am reminded of the song and I have a new appreciation for the words of the song. During the civil rights movement, the lyrics were designated as a civil rights song and the lyrics were changed to, “I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on freedom.”

In the 1970s, the United Negro College Fund coined the catch phrase, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” which promotes higher education in the Black community. This is true; but also true is the importance of keeping one’s mind on Christ. I don’t want to waste my mind – instead, I want it to be transformed and renewed to reflect the mind of Christ.

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)
5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.



Comments (12)

  1. Thank you Odelet.

    John J. Smith April 19, 2011 |
  2. Thank you, Odelet, for reminding us of how the daily disposition of our minds toward Christ can make all the difference in our motivation, our inspiration, our fortification for helping to create a freer, fuller, flourishing life for all people.

    Jim Brenneman, President Goshen College April 19, 2011 |
  3. I liked your devotions. It reminded me of my favorite Bible verse from Isaiah 26:3. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.

    Mary Bontrager April 19, 2011 |
  4. This is a powerful challenge that you have given us: the mind that is not transformed and renewed through Christ may be wasted. Thank you.

    Barry April 19, 2011 |
  5. What a beautiful meditation. You make every word count. “I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus” speaks to the spiritual (and the lyrical) in all of us.

    Duane Stoltzfus April 19, 2011 |
  6. A good reminder. Thanks, Odelet, for your meditation and sharing from your experience. It’s a favorite passage of my dad’s, too, that he likes to quote from memory.

    Loretta Yoder Ostojic April 19, 2011 |
  7. As a child in grammar school I was taught to bow my head when I spoke the word Jesus aloud.
    That practice was dropped as decades past, dropped by my church and by me. Then in church a few years ago as an elderly African American women read the New Testament, she bowed her head each time she said “Jesus.” Tears welled up in my eyes with her graced simplicity and the sad lost significance of the practice. Your beautiful meditation brought that sacred moment meaningfully back. Thank you so much.

    marjorie April 19, 2011 |
  8. Thank you! What an awesome reminder.

    Brook Hostetter April 19, 2011 |
  9. Thank you Odelet, for a most meaningful mediation. How poignant to keep one’s mind on Christ and not waste one’s mind.

    Margie Keiser April 19, 2011 |