March 20, 2016

“He Humbled Himself”

Preacher:
Passage: Philippians 2:4-11
The Final Victory. I recall overhearing a person say, "I really love Palm Sunday! The triumphal entry, the crowds and the feeling that Jesus had finally won. I wish the biblical story ended there." I think many of us would agree. Let's have Palm Sunday, skip the gory passion and then celebrate Easter. That's a version we can live with.
 
The early Christian church at Philippi faced intense persecution from the outside which resulted in internal strife and division. The powers are well-versed at creating dissension, doubt and despair. So Paul writes to the faithful using a familiar hymn or creed known to most of the early church that speaks to the concept of kenosis, that of self-emptying, dying to self. Such thinking was contrary to human nature then and doesn't gain much traction in our popular culture today. Yet that minute Christian church flourished while the empire of Rome dissolved. 
 
Please read and ponder the words of Philippians 2:4-11. Note that verse 4 reads, "Look not to your own interests, but instead to the interests of others." A tough teaching that leads to the gift of community in the presence of God.