The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Jesus the master improviser 2/4 | Letting go

 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 

Who, being in very nature God, 
    did not consider equality with Godsomething to be used to his own advantage; 
rather, he made himself nothing 
    by taking the very natureof a servant, 
    being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man, 
    he humbled himself 
    by becoming obedient to death – 
        even death on a cross! 


My tears streamed as I listened to a bride’s speech to her new husband last weekend. She said, ‘I’ve let go of the part of me that felt I had to face the world alone. I’ve let go of the part of me that felt my worth comes from the things I achieve and not the kindness I give. I’ve let go of the part of me that felt that marriage would be the end of my adventure. It’s quite the opposite.’

A beautiful allusion to what ‘letting go’ makes possible.

In Christian theology, the notion of ‘kenosis’ refers to Jesus’ emptying himself of the fullness of his divine authority, to become fully human. In letting go of such privilege, Jesus reveals that fullness of life is not found by insisting that reality bends to our own preferences.

And he invites all who follow him to discover it.

Like the bride who let go of her need for independence, achievement, and adventure for her husband’s sake, disciples of Jesus might have things they need to let go of, for his sake. Think of the young ruler and his wealth, Martha and her anxious toil, Peter keeping score of forgiveness. Each was invited to let go of what held them back from a life more abundant.

The choice to let go can be a powerful one for those of us improvising our long obedience in the same direction. To let go is not to give up, or admit defeat. It’s to choose to stop insisting on our own version of reality, and discover new possibilities.

And there is plenty I can choose to let go of. The need to have the last word in a meeting. The urge to display my status by power-walking to and from the school gate. The fear that I’m only as valuable as the number of tasks I’ve finished. The frustration at the interruptions to my Tetris-like schedule. The wish to be somewhere else right now.

In the words of an Ignatian prayer: ‘I let go of my desire for power and control. I let go of my desire for affection, esteem, approval, and pleasure. I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition, person, or myself. I open to the love and presence of God and God’s action within.’

Amen. A life more abundant awaits.

Tim Yearsley
Head of Innovation, LICC

What might Jesus be inviting you to let go of today, and what might happen if you take up that invitation? Join the conversation below.


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