Frederick Buechner Special Sermon Illustration: Slaves (Philippians 2:5-8)

In our blog post every week we select a reading from the Revised Common Lectionary and pair it with a Frederick Buechner reading on the same topic.

On January 1, 2021 we will celebrate the Holy Name of Jesus. Here is today's reading from the book of Philippians:

Philippians 2:5-8

Let the same mind be in you that was in 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.

The following was originally published in A Room Called Remember.

What is it like to be a slave? We've all seen reconstructions of the building of the pyramids, the anonymous little dark-skinned figures laboring up ramps like Sisyphus to heave the great stones into place. But the Bible doesn't call us primarily to reconstruct the past. "The Lord heard our voice," it says. That is the voice we're called to listen to here, the voice of our own slavery. Is it true that we're slaves? Can we be slaves, we who of all people are so much our own masters? And the answer, of course, is that we're slaves precisely because we are our own masters.