…Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing…
Sitting in church during the Good Friday liturgy, I became aware of being annoyed with those around me. I was distracted by this one’s shifting, that one’s whispered conversation, another’s mistakes, and I wanted them all to stop. I wanted to help them to stop. I wanted to enlighten them as to a better way. I wanted to minister to them. I in all my grandiose egocentric power wanted to inject my good nature into these others.
Then, I realized that Christ Jesus hanging on the cross was doing exactly the opposite. Jesus was withdrawing himself completely from humanity. He was not doing this out of self pity, not in anger, not as a sad, dejected and depressed victim of the world’s brutal treatment and hatred of him. Instead of reaching out to others in order to heal them, teach them, encourage them, and console them, He emptied Himself and made Himself into a perfect vessel into which would pour all of this illness, this sin, this hatred of self.
Upon His death, Christ had gathered into Himself the totality of earthly sin. As one willing to love humankind to the point of annihilation, He took it with him upon His resurrection, took it into His very being and so became our Savior, the One who not only cares for us, but who actually and literally has constructed His new body out of our bodies. He keeps us alive in our sinfulness, our brokenness, as we awaken to this reality, gradually assuming our rightful responsibility for ourselves and each other, by becoming Disciples of Christ.
Through the example of Christ on the cross, we are invited to learn to love as Christ loved, by emptying ourselves of ourselves and taking the sins of the world upon us, starting with our very own sinfulness, not to punish ourselves and make ourselves into victims, but to bring the world into ourselves, the only place where we can truly become the change, the transformation, we want to see in the world. All this while remaining in the world, for this is the place we have been given as a gift from God. This is the place where the Holy Spirit lives among us, the place where Jesus has left us in charge as His co-heirs to the Kingdom of God and where we are called to remain until we have completed His mission.
Saturday, March 31, 2018