Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 38-April 4

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.

This striking passage, hotly debated by Pauline scholars (Are they Paul’s words? Are they a pre-existing hymn that Paul and his community already knew?) Whatever its source, this amazing, majestic, early hymn to obedience and self- effacement is a treasure. Paul Simpson Duke, pastor of First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor, has this elegant commentary to share: “This is the Christ mind: not to grasp at glory, but to live, to love, to die, an emptied self. Paul prefaces the hymn urging us to be so minded. How can we not be, if we are in Christ and Christ is among us?”

May it be so, O God, that we, too, can be servants, not victims, emptying ourselves, serving and humbling ourselves, a powerful selfhood that is a choice, as it was our Lord’s. Amen.

Cross art found here.

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