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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, April 6, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Philippians 2:5–11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
    and gave him the name
    that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. (NRSV)

“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”

How is this possible? After decades of Sunday school and Bible study and sermons, all I know is that my mind is far from the mind of Jesus. I may not dream of worldly power and incredible wealth, but I do crave security and freedom. Security and freedom are a distant dream for many today.

God, who created the world and is and always has been arrayed in infinite glory, took the form of slave, a poor baby born among farm animals and growing up oppressed by the Roman state. During his human life, his ministry was filled with joy and love and the foretaste of God’s kingdom come on earth. But that ministry and obedience to his Father led to a humiliating and torturous death.

We know we should want to empty ourselves, be humble in our obedience. But for myself, I sometimes feel that I measure out my church life with coffee spoons, committee meetings, pledges made and pledges fulfilled. I will write a check or start a petition, but I don’t know if I could put my body between the oppressor and the oppressed.

Maybe what’s missing is the exaltation. Maybe only a blissful act of worship, the thrill of a sunrise, or a goofy joke from a child can knock the everyday world out of our hearts and empty them for God.

Lent is only forty days, but this Lent seems to have lasted for months. It’s been three years since I’ve heard the Fourth Church choir sing the “Hallelujah Chorus” on Easter Sunday. No matter what the spring brings, I look forward to that exultation.

Empty my heart, O God, of everything that is not love for you. Prepare me to exalt Jesus on his resurrection and live in that exaltation forever. Amen.

Written by Gretchen Wahl, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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