Monday, April 7, 2008

Preaching Incarnation (3)

Yesterday I preached on Phil. 2: 1-11 as planned. The University Baptist Church, on the University of Illinois campus, is largely composed of university students. It was lively and responsive. Worship began with a student's believers' baptism. Looking out at the congregation, with an average age in the twenties, I was reminded of past heady days working as Baptist chaplain at Cambridge University.

For the sermon, the metaphor of the "escalator" stayed with me. Actually, when I googled "escalator" I found many references to a Robert Hazard 1980"s song:
We're riding on the escalator of life,
We're shopping in the human mall,
We're dancing on the escalator of life,
Won't be happy 'til we have it all.

"Escalator of Life" has a ring to it. (And I also used an escalator comment from Bill Suriano posted on my blog, April 2, 2008!) I called the sermon: "Going Up? Going Down?" The world views the escalator of life as going up - scrambling for power and significance. But, in his incarnation Jesus reverses the direction - he goes down from glory into humble service. The challenge to the church in Philippi, and to us, is whether we are living for pride and power, going up with Adam, or living for humble service, joining in and going down with Jesus Christ.

Afterwards several students talked about what Christ's challenge to live counter the world actually meant for them. I was humbled by their honesty and faith. And I ask myself today: Going Up? or Going Down?

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