One of the earliest declarations of the Christ event comes through Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. In the second chapter, the community is admonished to live according to the way of Christ and then a brief hymn is given which is believed to be the oldest statement of Jesus’ impact (theology). Read Philippians 2:1-11.
A tall order, is it not?! To allow the same spirit be within us that was within Christ! The way of Christ isn’t simply dogmatic beliefs that we affirm; rather, it is a conscious (which becomes unconscious) way of seeing our world—God, each other, self and creation. It is the awakening to the beauty of partnership and call. The way of Christ will challenge our comfortableness, our prejudices, and our purpose. These, among many other challenges, are not aimed at beating us down but instead freeing us to live fully.
Scholars call this short hymn the Kenosis passage. Quite literally, the term means ‘to empty.’ As Jesus lived his life and followed God’s call, he ‘emptied himself by taking the form of a servant/slave.’ What does it mean that he emptied himself? I have to believe that he let go of the ‘me-istic’ tendency and, equally important, the unhealthy role of the ego, in order to live a life marked by serving others—the least, the lost and the fringe.
What might it mean to empty yourself? May it mean, to not allow degrees or accomplishments to give you worth? May it mean, seeing each before you as a beloved child of God? Might it mean, to have an ego in check and a spaciousness of soul, to be open to serving others?