I’ve written a guided meditation through one of the scriptures which I hold most dear: Philippians 2:5-11. I would encourage you to carve out some time this weekend, whether all-at-once or in small increments, to gather yourself around the Christ Hymn and allow God to speak to you of the beautiful heaviness this day invites us to.
Pray before you begin, inviting the Spirit to bring you into the present moment: heart, mind, spirit, body.
Resist the urge to fight of guilt and shame from the past or anxiety and despair of the future. Rather, welcome them as old friends who are witness to the moment. Offer them to the Lord as gifts.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
This isn’t a story we observe from a distance, but one we participate in. We move from truth as affirmation to incarnation, when encounter with God as revealed in the Christ leads to transformation of the whole person. The more we are changed, the truer it becomes.
How true is the Christ story, when you examine the fabric of your own life?
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
Like the Christ, we must choose not to let our nature – as God’s children and His image – be used for gain. Indeed, the christ-conscience strips us of our sense of entitlement and turns us inside-out. We seek less to live for ourselves and more to participate in God’s redemptive story. We become outwardly-focused and other-centered.
How do you hold your true nature?
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
The greatest act of love is to let yourself become nothing for the sake of someone. Self-definition is the epitome of control. To relinquish control as the response of obedience to the Divine requires trust that God will lead you to what it truly means to be human.
Can you let yourself be fully human in order to love humanity?
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Let go of your privilege, then let go of life as you know it. Resurrection requires death to precede it. To accept this call to radical obedience is to not rush the process of death, but to let it take its course. Trust that, when new life comes, it will mean so much more then you could have imagined on this side of the grave.
Can you trust God that death [of dreams, desires, plans, privilege] is not the end, and, in doing so, welcome death?
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
Perfect weakness leads to perfect victory – reconciliation, wholeness, peace. We let go of the endless, violent patterns of the world to pursue a higher way, the way of the Christ. Powerful empires crumble at his name, not least the ones within our own hearts. It is a beautiful scandal that the apparent weakness of God brings about true victory, for in weakness we are opened up to the world as an invitation to intimacy.
Does his name draw you in or push you away?
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Power is not a goal unto itself; love is. “God is love” is the fabric of everything; the beginning and the end of the story. Jesus did not empty himself in order to take the place of a tyrannical god that upholds rigid hierarchical structures of haves and have-nots; rather, it is in his name that we are all gathered together in perfect love. Every one of us.
What do the things you pursue in life say about what God is like?
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
It is in Creator uniting with creation, through the work of Jesus, that God is perfectly made known. “Glory” is here-ness. With-ness. HIs presence revealed through harmony. And its all possible through the Christ, who is the binding force in the universe.
Where do you see signs of resurrection from death?