"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Subscribe to us on YouTube
Subscribe to us on iTunes
Subscribe to our RSS Feed
Receive our Email Newsletter
Visit us at Luther Seminary
The Working Preacher app provides inspiration, interpretation, and imagination wherever you are, whenever you need it.
The Christ Hymn
Philippians 2:1-13 Commentary
by Amy G. Oden
It’s a pretty radical idea -- God descending into human flesh.
God chooses downward mobility against all expectations of a deity. If folks have spent a lot of time in church, it’s likely they are used to the idea of God becoming human. It can be the wallpaper of our faith -- all around us and yet just sort of there in the background. These verses from Philippians 2 call us to see -- again, maybe for the first time -- how radical this God is and what that means for our lives.
In the ancient world, a god who was “born in human likeness” (verse 7) was a self-demoting God, hardly the sort of God useful for human life. It’s one thing for Zeus to become human for a day to play tricks, but it’s quite another for the God of the universe to “empty himself taking the form of a slave” (verse 7), that is, to take on flesh, become fully human, suffer and die. Who needs a God like that? This God doesn’t sound like a “winner,” like a mighty deity who comes to the aid of powerless humans or like a super kick-butt-and-take-names ...
| Bible Text
2018-19 Readings (Year 1)
2018-19 Worship Resources
Summer Readings (2019)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL320: The Christ Hymn
May 13, 2018
Podcast on Philippians 2:1-13, the Narrative Lectionary reading for May 13, 2018, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Mark Throntveit. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.