How do we practice true kenosis so that a reign of God community is cultivated?
There is a slightly humorous but sad old tale in the Rabbinic tradition which tells about a prince who lived in a far away land a long time ago who longed for true community where each person showed loyalty and sacrificial service towards each other. So he called a meeting of his leadership to discuss this. As a part of the first gathering of this meeting which would start discussions about how to turn this land into a true community, he called each leader to bring their best wine produced from their ancestral vines. These wines would be poured into a communal vat and blended as a representation of true community. One of the winegrowers wondered how he would do this as it would compromise his wine. The unique grapes that he used would be spoiled, no one would be able to taste the uniqueness of his wine taken from his special vineyard.
So the night before the great meeting, he poured water into a wine bottle and took it to the meeting thinking that no one would notice. The next day the meeting started and the prince asked all to pour their wines into the one giant vat. Excitedly the prince then asked the leaders to take from the vat and drink as a symbol of community. They did so and discovered they were all drinking water. None of the leaders had wanted to compromise their wine.
No one was willing to let go of their own self in order to create true community. Truly surrendering to each other feels like we are losing our sense of self to some extent, and in our narcissistic society where individualism reigns, this is anathema. However, if our identity is grounded in Christ, then we do not need to fear letting go of our individuality. As we submit to one another, our true identity under Christ’s Lordship is built up. As Augsburger says, “In a tripolar community, each person’s individuality is affirmed (you can be truly you), yet joint participation is achieved (we can be truly we) because at the center we together recognize that God is present (we gather around him).”
(Via Missio Alliance)