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Jesus: The Servant: Weekly Summary

Jesus: The Servant

Summary: Sunday, March 8-Friday, March 13, 2015

Jesus’ passion and death exemplified in dramatic theater a “third way,” which is neither fight nor flight, but a little of both. It is fleeing enough to detach oneself from excessive ego and the emotions that attach to it and fighting just enough to stand up courageously against evil. (Sunday)

We need to deeply trust and allow both our own dyings and our own certain resurrections, just as Jesus did! This is the full pattern of transformation. (Monday)

“Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have sent my spirit upon him, he will bring fair judgment to the nations.” –Isaiah 42:1 (Tuesday)

All of Jesus’ teachings call us to win by losing, which is so countercultural and so paradoxical that Jesus finally had to live it himself to show us it could be true. (Wednesday)

“Anyone who wants to be a follower of mine has to put self aside, shoulder their cross, and go the way that I go. Whoever holds onto their life will lose it. But whoever lets go of their life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it.” –Jesus in Mark 8:34-35 (Thursday)

The “paschal mystery” is indeed and always a mystery—that the way up is the way down. (Friday)


Practice: Self-Emptying

Make my joy complete by being of a single mind, one in love, one in heart and one in mind. Nothing is to be done out of jealousy or vanity; instead, out of humility of mind everyone should give preference to others, everyone pursuing not selfish interests but those of others. Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.

–Philippians 2:3-8

Jesus consistently asks people to “come after me” or to “follow me.” Well, we see where he’s leading us: to the cross. Victory is not the avoidance of death, but precisely death transformed. And that is what God does with people who say yes to the process.

In the passage above, Paul uses the Greek word kenosis to describe Jesus’ act of self-emptying and surrender. Contemplative prayer is a practice of self-emptying. At its most basic, contemplation is letting go—of our habitual thoughts, preferences, judgments, and feelings. Though life itself is often our most powerful teacher through great love and suffering, contemplation is a daily, small death to false self and ego. It makes space for True Self to reappear, to rise from the ashes of our partial and protected self. If you do not already have a regular contemplative or meditative practice, I encourage you to begin with a few minutes of silence every day, emptying your mind of patterned—mostly negative—thoughts to simply be present to Presence.

Gateway to Silence:
The way down is the way up.

Adapted from The Path of Descent (CD, MP3 download)

For Further Study:
The Path of Descent (CD, MP3 download)
Scripture as Liberation (MP3 download)

Image credit: Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet (1852-56/detail), Ford Madox Brown, Tate Gallery, London

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