Lent Has Begun

LentWe currently find ourselves in the season of Lent for 2013. It’s a time marked out by the church to focus on reflective prayer and different avenues of fasting, all to prepare for the work of Christ on the cross and his overcoming of death through resurrection.

Where does one start in drawing close to God in this time of year?

Well, we shouldn’t be overwhelmed. Start small. Start with today. Start slowly.

There is a good passage that could help us reflect on this central work of Christ: Phil 2:6-11.

While this statement is very Christological – teaching us about Christ – it is actually within the midst of very practical instructions from Paul to the church in Philippi. The verse just before the well-known Christological song/hymn says this:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

So Paul’s bringing a challenge to the church, using Christ as an example of what is expected of this group of Philippian believers. This is important to remember – what Christ walked out, the church was expected to follow (of course, through the grace and power of the Holy Spirit). Christ was to embrace the cross; church was to embrace the cross. Christ was to embrace resurrection; church was to embrace resurrection.

But one cannot get to resurrection without the cross, without death. New life is not possible without death of the old.

So we need to learn Phil 2:6-8 before we can truly know vs9-11. That’s simple fact.

And this is what it says of Christ:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

But if the church needs to walk this path as well, maybe we can rethink this passage, how it might be restated for the body of Christ:

Who, being the sons & daughters of God,
did not consider their identity in God something to be used to their own advantage;
rather, they made themselves nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
identifying with broken humanity.
And being found as broken & contrite,
they humbled themselves
even willing to become obedient to death—
even death on a cross like their Master!

Something of this nature. But it clearly reflects the path of our Lord, which we are to emulate. We are to live incarnational lives ourselves, making the ways of God known in a hurting and broken world.

The cross is not ‘fun’. Death is not ‘fun’. But they are necessary. Necessary that the power of God might be displayed through resurrection life.

It’s time to prepare.

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