Finishing a Good Work? (Philippians 1:1-11)

Yesterday we gathered round the table. Some usual faces were absent, but as it happens — the table was full of beautiful people of God — to read Scripture with & listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We opened in prayer.

Then we checked in trying to answer why God loves kids so much; and also sharing at least one way that you (we) can receive a child in God’s name or help protect a child from sin. There was an immediate answer that was both simple and profound: the Bible; reading & teaching the Bible instructs us all on how to receive a child in God’s name and how to help protect a child from sin. (*I mean, if we’re honest, while there are arguably many ways that this can & is done — I wonder if we’d all agree that the under-girding of these ways is from the Bible, from a scriptural basis instructing us how to treat children & each other!)

The question about why God loves kids so much took us in a few tangents, again visiting and talking about children who are young in age, as well as children of God (spiritual children — not talking so much about “age” in that sense). AND, we also even dipped into the more (what we called:) “technical” differentiation between who are considered (spiritual) children of God — engaging some conversation about who is named as a child of God — and our own (our, meaning us — individuals who have the ability to say/choose whether we trust/believe/follow Christ) decision(s) as to if we accept the gift of grace. This is a conversation that can go on for a long time; some people can be invigorated with the engagement with scripture & asking hard questions, others are less so — that’s OK & doesn’t mean you are less or more spiritual than another, each of us is and has been shaped uniquely in the divine imagine of God! And yet — we reminded ourselves that while we do find ourselves blessed to be considered children of God (a grace given to us) — our status as children of God does not guarantee us to somehow living a good life without sorrow or pain or betrayal; and if we forget we need only consider God’s only begotten Son: Jesus Christ! Jesus in whom God was well pleased, the one who is God — he went to the cross, and died, and rose from death into life — FOR ALL OF US, but let us not forget that the most beloved of God still endured death on a cross & all the pain & suffering that led to that event…the children of God are beloved, but safe from pain or betrayal or sorrow in this world that we know — we are not; but we are not alone in it (AMEN?!).

So after this we turned to scripture…Philippians 1:1-11:

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

New International Version

We listened to the scripture read aloud twice. We allowed God some space in silence to direct our thoughts to where God was speaking to us yesterday. Some noticed that this letter is kinder and softer in its approach and message than the others Paul wrote, a more encouraging letter for us to receive today. One heard something that is HARD…check out verse 10, that we “may be purse and blameless for the day of Christ.” We might try, but completely pure and blameless? That’s a TALL order that we are trying for…but. Another appreciated the end — all glory and praise to God.

Our homework however — will ask two things of us:

  • 1st: we are invited to learn all we can about the book of Philippians. We will be spending time in this book, reading it through together — thus, this week let us be learning about it!
  • 2nd: re-read verse 6 & answer what is the good work that God is working on in you?

I’m excited when we will gather together again — next Sunday! And don’t forget Daylight Savings…so you know “spring ahead!”

In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater