I've Got Nothing
True confession, Tiny Faithers: many Monday mornings I get up early with an idea and start writing. Today, I got up, though not as early as I had hoped, brewed my coffee and stared at the blank page.
Guess what? I’ve got nothing.
I started to write a journal entry called “Exegeting Ke$ha,” and I put it down. “Who cares?” I thought.
I wanted to write an intro to Holy Week, with wise reflections and hopeful, helpful ways to observe this moving week.
As I sat with my “nothing,” I thought of the spiritual significance of this conundrum; this lack-of-content state I’m in.
I thought of the word ‘kenosis.’
This is the Greek word for emptying, and I first heard it in a seminary class discussion about Jesus’ identity. Jesus is what you get when God empties himself to become human. But it doesn’t stop there.
Really, Holy Week is all about emptying.
On Palm Sunday, though it was a festive, celebratory march with hosannas and fanfare, Jesus must have also felt alone. He wasn’t processing to a throne; he was processing to his own eventual trial, imprisonment, torture and death.
On his last night with his disciples, Jesus emptied himself of all status, put on a towel, and washed their feet. Then, he gave them bread and said “this is my body given for you,” a foreshadowing of how his own brokenness would make them whole.
And what could be more emptying, more kenotic, than Good Friday? On Friday the Divine could not seem further from him, and yet this is the way redemption comes.
In Philippians 2, Paul writes:
Christ, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with
God something to be grasped;
7 instead, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
This passage from Paul is the quintessential “emptying” creed. Knowing he was God, he emptied himself of status. Considering his power, he put on a towel and served his friends like he was their slave.
Friends, it’s Monday of Holy Week and I’ve got nothing. But I’m not anxious about it anymore. Instead I see that by admitting my lack, I make room for God’s spirit to dwell. For through our weakness and imperfections God’s power is made known and transformation can begin to be born.
Thanks for Reading.