Philippians 2.6-11 haunts my mind. Its a story I come back to again and again as I wrestle with what it means to follow, to suffer, to bear rejection, to see him. Paul himself saw his life through the hymn he shared with his Philippian church, and he wanted to be able to say one day that he could see them as well through that story. In fact, indeed he saw that story already at work in them and hoped for what Christ could do as they sought peace and wholeness with one another in the midst of differences.
Can you see yourself through His story, in His story? Can you see it in the way you live your life? In those moments where character and integrity call forth that long hard road of following after him rather than the fleeting pleasures you’d receive if you didn’t? In his story, his life, his path are the contours for our own. In the silhouette of his broken face lie the curves of our own…
“The Christ ‘story’, so central to Philippians, affects ethical behavior in different ways. It forms Christian vision and identity and in this way gives direction to the moral life. The story elicits imitation – believers are called to follow Christ’s example – and in this way provides the contours for the growth of the believers’ ethical behavior.”
– Petrus J Grabe, Identity, Ethics, and Ethos in the New Teastament
What is the substance of the Christian life, the Christian ethic? Willful self-emptying, humiliation, silent suffering, and death all for the Father’s glory. And then when it is time jubilant resurrection!
(Photographic art by Maggie’s World’s, piece entitled “Contours…“)