Friday, November 4, 2016

The Humble and Exalted Christ

Devotion: Philippians 2:5-11

The major theme of Philippians, so far as I read it, is unity. We will see later that the Philippian church has some internal strife, but we have already seen that they have overcome this strife, at least for a time, to give the Apostle financial support while in prison (for which he is deeply thankful, another theme of the letter with joy). Over and again the Apostle surrenders the desire to be right, well-regarded and respectable. Why? In a word, Jesus.

The so-called 'Christ Hymn' of Philippians 2:6-11 is in the service of promoting the unity of the Church. The Church is called in 2:5 to have the same mind among us that is ours in Christ Jesus. We are used to reading the Christ Hymn as a statement of Christ's divinity, the true glory of the humble Lord upon the cross and a statement of final judgment. While all of this is technically correct, the point of the text is to put this doctrinal statements into service for uniting the Philippians in mission and ministry. As Joseph Hellerman points out in his excellent commentary on the Greek text 
"...Paul has leveraged Christology--conceived in terms of status and prestige--in the service of ecclesiology."
Or, in other words, the Apostle puts doctrine about Jesus, focusing on his glorified and exalted status and how he surrendered it to serve the will of Father by saving us on the cross, into service to promote the peace, purity and, especially, the unity of the Church.
Christ humbled himself to the point of the cross and is elevated in resurrection and ascension to a greater glory. We are to see in Christ the way to the Father and thus follow him into humble service, even if it costs us everything. Following Jesus is not safe. When we surrender to Jesus we will follow him to the cross. The only way we can do that, realistically, is if we go together, being encouraged and strengthened by brothers and sisters along the way. We must surrender the self and be born again through faith in Christ Jesus, but let us remember that it is Christ that opens the way for us to be made new. So let us encourage one another as we seek to follow Jesus together.


News and Thanks

  • A big thanks to all who served at the Trunk-or-Treat event. We served well over 450 trunk-or-treaters and had a great time. Our community appreciated our effort and hopefully this will create some avenues for fruitful outreach in the future.
  • A bridal shower for Emily Martin will take place this Sunday, November 6, at 2 p.m. hosted by Stephanie Lamb and Bailee Meese. The wedding will take place Saturday, November 26 at 7:30 p.m.


Opportunity to Serve

  1. We will host the ManFsher meal on November 20. This year we will be cooking a Thanksgiving meal and could use some help. Contact Kathy Mintzer if you would like to serve in this important ministry.
  2. Our first week to host the Rotating Homeless Shelter will be November 13-19. There will be a sign-up sheet after church on Sunday. In addition, a brief training session will take place following worship at 11:45 a.m. this week. We especially need men to serve as hosts, but could also use men to serve as screeners.
  3. Do not forget to get your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes back by November 20!

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