FOR TODAY Read Philippians 2:5-11: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus: who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Biblical scholars who study the various tones, nuances and technicalities of the New Testament have concluded that verses 6-11 of this passage of scripture may have been one of the earliest hymns recited by the earliest Christians. Read it again and imagine doing so in a cave or catacomb knowing that if Roman soldiers overheard you singing this song, it would have brought swift and certain punishment. The hymn speaks of the emptying of God’s self in order to become human, the theological term for this emptying is kenosis. God is love. Love cannot truly be love if it controls, overpowers, manipulates or coerces the one loved. Thus, the way of love is known in vulnerability, selflessness and sacrifice. This is who God is, and this is what Jesus most fully and clearly reveals about God. God chooses to become as one of us, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us. Ironically, there is power in the way of emptying love: vulnerability, humility, self-sacrifice. This power threatens the way of worldly power that is more about invincibility, ego, and acquisition. And it is this power of self-sacrificial love that God exalts in the resurrection. The hymn recognizes this power when it affirms that “every knee should bend” and confess that Jesus is Lord. It is this final declaration so boldly asserted that would have brought persecution to the early Christians, “so at the name of Jesus, every kneel should bend." Confessing that Jesus is Lord is to pledge our life first and foremost to Him. This pledge of faith is meant to encompass all of life. Faith is neither a personal nor a private affair. Such faith requires of us to empty ourselves of worldly demands, allegiances and devotion in order to be filled with the way, truth and life of Christ Jesus. FOR FURTHER REFLECTION When have you experienced the power of vulnerability at work? Of what worldly devotion, allegiance or demand might you need to empty yourself? How has your confession of Jesus as Lord manifest itself in a way that contradicted the ways of the world?
JESUS This is our theme for our last week of devotions: Jesus. Rather than offer technical answers, orthodox dogma or theological doctrine, let's give this week to our sanctified imagination and ponder our own creed about Jesus. Let us trust that doing so is not for the lack of faith or heretical inclination, but that it awakens our desire to more deeply cultivate our response to the question, who do I say Jesus is? Find all previous daily devotionals here
Join us for our 50th Jubilee Celebration events, December 3-5, online. Details can be found here: www.diocgc.org/just-mercy-just-jesus.