Deut 5-6; Phil 2; Psalm 119:17-32
In St Paul’s letter to the Philippians we come to one of the great mysteries of faith. That God in Christ steps down into the fulness of the human condition, apart from Sin, becomes obedient, even to the point of death, death on a Cross.
A few days ago we considered Paul’s injunction to be subject to one another, out of reverence to Christ. Here we read how Christ becomes subject even to the point of death. The injunction in Ephesians that we moderns choke at, not wishing to be subject to anyone or anything, is not merely revealed as a rule or way, but The Way, the Fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets.
So Paul in Ephesians is in effect calling on us to walk in the way of Christ. This of course is not a surprise when we recall that Paul understands the Church as the Body of Christ – thus of course the Church must walk in Christ’s humility and subjection, which is counter intuitively the Victorious Life, the Life of the one who Overcomes.
Thus once more we are enjoined to this way – ‘let the same mind be amongst you as was in Christ Jesus’- this Way is something we share in. So it is our common life, the Life of Christ.
There are several things we might say about this. Firstly we must remember that God never does Anything because he has to. Nothing coerces God. Rather that God is Pure Act. That which he Does, He Is. So God in Christ does not become obedient unto death because we in our sinfulness have forced his hand. Jesus death and Resurrection is not plan B, rather it is the revelation of the Very nature of God. That God is in and of himself humble love, he is the foot washing God, he is the one who dies for his friends, he will go to the utter depths – for that is what he does.
Secondly we are made in his image. Often the imagery of our growth in Christian life is one of ascent, but this is not always helpful. Christian Life is revelaed when with our Lord we too go down into the depths, following joyfully the one who has overcome sin and death.
Of course to many, the depths are frightening places, but our Lord speaks to us, do not be afraid, I have overcome the World. Thus there is nowhere so low that we might anymore fear it, for he now fills all in all, having been exalted to the highest place.
Every knee shall bow, to the one who comes amongst us as a Servant. The Last shall in truth be First.