April 3, 2020

Published April 4, 2020 by St Matthews Lutheran Church in Daily Message

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. [Philippians 2: 5-8]

People have asked me on occasion about my favorite Bible passages. One of the is Matthew 6: 33- seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. In this passage – part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is addressing our human proclivity for worry and anxiety. An apt reminder to spend time with God when we’re stressed.

Another of my favorites, is the passage above from the letter to the church at Philippi. I am always drawn to the part, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave. The word translated emptied is kenosis in Greek. It speaks of the kind of love – agape– that regards the needs of others above the needs of self. Jesus loves in that perfect way by going to the cross for us.

Right now that same sense of self-emptying is being asked of each and every one of us in the simple act of physical distancing and self-isolating – not for ourselves but for the sake of others. Being an extrovert, that’s not easy for me. I offer it right now as a Lenten discipline. It helps me to understand it in that way. Perhaps it will help you, too.

Let us pray.

O God, you have called us to live with servant hearts, We give thanks for those who stand on the front lines of this pandemic and ask that we, too, might live in selfless service to others. Lead us in your ways, in the name of Jesus. Amen.