Do you hear what I hear?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Michael Gorman in Inhabiting the Cruciform God has a beautiful rhythm to his writing:

“The narrative of [Phil] 2:6-8 has been rightly described as one of “downward mobility.” Joseph Hellerman argues that it is a “cursus pudorum,” or downward-bound succession of ignominies, constructed in contrast to Rome’s cursus honorum, the elite’s upward-bound race for honors….”

And I went down to the river to pray

Gonna lay down my burdens, down by the riverside

Go down, Moses, go down to Egypt lan’. Tell ole Pharoah to let my people go

We fall down, and we get up

Adam fell, Christ went down, now we go down to get up. This implies that we started as up after the fall. You could say we go down to admit reality, but the fact that it can be a choice means there is some upness to us. If the fall was death, then the fact that we are alive substantiates the idea that Christ was crucified before the foundations of the world and that he raised all men with himself. I suppose our mixed bag of up and downness, because we do still stumble, is a result of both realities. When we voluntarily go down we are like the one out of 10 lepers who came back to Christ to say thank you, and like his disciples who chose to more personally and completely unite themselves to him. We go down because Christ went down. We go down for him because he went down for us. But if we stay up are we really up? If we live a life of wanton pleasure and self pursuit with no thought of God, are we up? Most people find it ultimately unfulfilling, they say, and there are pitfalls, but some may do all right and not regret it I suppose. Maybe they’ll be punished like the rich man who ignored Lazarus. Or maybe they’ll get their own island in heaven and keep drifting further and further off in mercifully allowed self-imposed ignorance a la The Great Divorce. So why go down?

Because Christ is there.

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