Emptied…The Roman Coliseum
Emptied…The Broadway Theaters
Emptied…The arenas that hosted March Madness
Emptied…The shelves that held toilet paper
Emptied…the shelves that held paper towels
Emptied…the shelves that held hand soap
Emptied…the shelves that held sanitizer
Emptied…The schools that are home to our precious children, teens, and college students
Emptied…our houses of worship.
At this particular moment, it seems our lives are filled with emptiness. And so we feel empty.
At this particular moment, I hold up to you one whose life truly was filled with emptiness. And yet this one whose life was filled with emptiness lived a life that was anything but empty. This one lived a life that was full. This one lived a life that was vibrant. This one lived a life that was beautiful. This one lived a life that was a blessing.
In a compelling description of our Lord, the Apostle Paul writes:
“Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant…”
Christ Jesus emptied himself.
Christ Jesus took the form of a servant.
Those who study the scriptures closely note that Paul seems to be borrowing a hymn that had become well-known within the early Christian community. Facing their own times of hardship, facing their own times of persecution, facing their own times of testing, facing their own times of challenge, the early Christians knew what it was like to be empty. Instead of bemoaning the many ways their lives were emptied, the Apostle Paul, himself acquainted with suffering, called on the early Christians to have the same attitude as Christ Jesus, to have the same mind as Christ Jesus.
In a world filled with the emptiness of empty shelves and empty landmarks, empty schools and even empty houses of worship, what an amazing opportunity for people of faith to explore how we can have the same attitude, how we can have the same mind as our Lord Jesus Christ, how we may empty ourselves as servants, how we may empty ourselves for the sake of others. As he did so often, Jesus offers us a powerful paradox. “Whoever seeks to gain life for themselves will lose it, but whoever loses their life will gain it.” (Luke 17:33)
In this time of the Coronavirus, I pray that we will not be defined as a people who emptied the shelves of our supermarkets.
Instead, in this time of the Coronavirus, I pray that we will be defined as a people whose lives were emptied as we poured themselves out for the needs of others, sharing kindness, compassion, joy, and love.
In this time of the Coronavirus, I pray that we will be defined as a people who had the same attitude as Christ Jesus…
“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
With the love of Christ,