Daily Lent Devotional #25 (4/02/2011)

1 Peter 5: 1-6  (New Living Translation)

1 “And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.

5 In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for

   “God opposes the proud
      but favors the humble.”

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

As Christians, we promote the cross as a symbol of our faith.  The cross, a Roman execution stake, is anything but enticing.  It symbolized the humiliation and drawn-out death of someone who opposed the Roman Empire.  To be crucified was to be humbled in every way imaginable.

To follow Christ, we are to adopt his attitude of humility.  We are not “above” any task or any one.  Those in leadership within the church (looking at myself in the mirror, here) should be known for their servant-heart and desire to meet the needs of those under them.  Like a shepherd risking life and safety for his sheep, we are called to love those that are under our care.

Author Henri Nouwen referred to this servant-like attitude of Jesus as “the descending way of God” and some thoughts from him about that are posted below:

How is it that love is made visible in Jesus? It is made visible in the descending way. God has descended to us human beings to become a human being with us. And once among us, he descended to the total dereliction of one condemned to death…Jesus presents to us the great mystery of the descending way.

It is the way of suffering, but also the way to healing. It is the way of humiliation, but also the way to resurrection. It is the way of hiddenness, but also the way that leads to the light that will shine for all people. It is the way of persecution, oppression, martyrdom, and death, but also the way to the full disclosure of God’s love…The ‘lifting up’ that Jesus speaks of refers both to his being raised up on the cross in total humiliation and to his being raised up from the dead in total glorification.

You are probably wondering how, in imitation of Jesus, you are to find the descending way.  Each one of us has to seek out his or her own descending way of love. That calls for much prayer, much patience, and much guidance. It has nothing at all to do with spiritual heroics, dramatically throwing everything overboard to ‘follow’ Jesus. The descending way is a way that is concealed in each person’s heart. But because it is so seldom walked on, it’s often overgrown with weeds. Slowly but surely we have to clear the weeds, open the way, and set out on it unafraid.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on April 2, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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