ECCLESIOLOGICAL ETCHINGS February 10, 2023 In yesterday's classes on Philippians, we focused on what is often called the Kenosis Hymn, a song from the early church that Paul might have borrowed and referenced in his letter. It begins with the words, "Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings." The word Kenosis comes from the Greek verb we translate as emptied. As you can imagine, the church has discussed and debated the question of what exactly did the Christ "empty" itself (himself) of so as to become the enfleshing of the divine in human form? There are lots of opinions, but I don’t know if anyone can say with certainty what Paul had in mind. My mind goes to the culture of Rome and how everything was upward: building bigger buildings; to grow in one’s social status; to increase one’s wealth. And of course, the gods were usually associated with mountains and massive temples. And then for this small upstart of a religion to claim that the one God of the Universe came down without the usual divine attributes was pretty absurd! If you pause long enough, I think you’ll find it is still pretty absurd, yet that is a central declaration of the Christian faith. Despite what we try to impose on God, God always seems to go against the grain, in the opposite direction of everyone else’s expectations.
The goodness of your grace, O God, is undeterred by the opinions or assumptions of the world, and for that, I give you thanks! Amen.