Be like Jesus:
Being godlike, for him, wasn't the point.
Instead he gave himself away,
Becoming a nobody, becoming fully human.
And being fully human, nothing was beneath him –
Not even crucifixion –
When it came to helping others find their own humanity.
Universal law declares,
That he, having been last, shall be first.
Let everyone admit:
Whether in heaven, on earth, or in the pits,
His example holds the key to living a divine life.
It's widely agreed that this poem is probably a hymn sung in the first generation church. In the original, I'm sure it was beautiful and mystical. But the message in the music is that to be divine, that to really and fully live, one must become fully human. That's what Jesus did.
We're human; our humanity is all we've got. But being fully human is hard. So often, it's easier to try to be something (or someone) else. Sometimes we try to fit into someone else's idea of who or what we should be. Sometimes we dream up our own fantasies or projections. But the hymn comes back to this: that Jesus modeled being fully human, and in doing so tapped into divinity. Be like him.
As one of the first church hymns, it may also server as a reminder that being a faithful community is more about getting in touch with our humanity and helping others to do so, rather than trying to buy a golden ticket into heaven.
Never underestimate the power of being fully human. The first generation church realized that this was what the life and death of Jesus demonstrated. And it was so powerful they called its discovery Resurrection.