#AdventBookClub day 18: The servant Christ

There is a distinction between service and servility. It is not, I think, a distinction which Underhill draws particularly well. It would be easy to read some of her work and think that we are called to give of ourselves until there is nothing left of us, to give everything and expect nothing. That is not necessarily a healthy model of Christian service, and indeed has done considerable harm.

But there are hints in Underhill’s work that might draw us in a different direction. She emphasises Jesus’ servanthood, his willingness to lay down his life for others. But we are not Jesus. I am not Jesus and you are not Jesus. But together we are the body of Christ. That collective identity might point us towards something important: the idea of mutual service. Not conditional service – “I’ll do that for you if you do this for me” – but a relationship of mutuality and love which enables us not only to serve others willingly, but also to make ourselves vulnerable enough to be served.

This year for #AdventBookClub we are reading ‘Music of Eternity: meditations for Advent with Evelyn Underhill’ by Robyn Wrigley-Carr. Join the conversation in the Facebook group, or by following the hashtag on Twitter.

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