Kenosis: Giving Ourselves Away
In her new book “The Church Cracked Open,” The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, who serves as our Presiding Bishop’s Canon for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Creation, reminds us of the theological concept of “kenosis,” which is the “self-emptying” of Jesus’s own human will to embrace God’s divine will. Canon Spellers writes: “In Jesus, God shows us what it looks like to be vulnerable, humble, and self-giving. In him, we see one who did not run from the things that broke his heart, nor did he first calculate what he could gain from a situation. Jesus sought instead to give away his life, so he and others might flourish as God intends.”
Now more than ever, the world is in need of our self-emptying so that all might flourish. There is no way we can do this on our own. But with God’s help, Spellers argues, as an act of faith, we can invite the Holy Spirit to guide us in the act of kenosis. She wonders: “What if we believed and lived as if love is stronger than death, as if giving away our lives for one another actually restores and increases everyone else’s life? What if we allowed the Holy Spirit to make possible a degree of loving and self-emptying that we, under our own individual power, could not possibly achieve?”
— The Very Rev. Gray Lesesne, D.Min.