“Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,  did not regard equality with God    as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,  being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-even death on a cross.

“Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This section of Paul’s letter to the Philippian church (2:6-11) is seen by Bible scholars as an early hymn  that was sung at church worship services.  ABC’s pastors used the first stanza of this hymn as the text for our preaching during the Advent season, expressing how Christ journeyed from heaven to Bethlehem, and beyond that, to the cross, for our salvation.  Now we have decided to stay with this passage for a while longer to mine more of its riches.

This week Pastor Connie will lead us through the second stanza, which celebrates in lofty poetry Christ’s ultimate destiny as Supreme Ruler of the restored universe.  I will follow with an imaginary middle stanza, describing the two-thousand-plus years of church history between Christ’s Advent and his ultimate triumphant rule.

Finally, we will look at the context before and after the hymn, in which the Apostle Paul tells members of the church how they should think, feel and act as people called by God to be part of the drama unfolding during this middle stanza period.  I think we will be surprised at the important role God wants us to play.  Hopefully, we will also be revived in our love for him and his Kingdom.

— Pastor George Van Alstine