After giving thanks and praying for his friends in the Philippian church, Paul seeks to update his koinonia partners on his well-being. But, in an unexpected twist, Paul doesn’t speak to his well-being while in Roman chains. The apostle instead focuses on the fact that the gospel is gaining ground in spite of his circumstances. There are some around Paul that are gaining clarity as to the reason for his imprisonment (preaching the gospel of Jesus) and some others that are gaining confidence. For Paul himself, he’s able to look beyond his hard circumstances and see the growth of the gospel, and this, for Paul, is a reason to rejoice! What an example we have to follow when our life circumstances are less than ideal!
We will begin the first month of 2020 by walking through the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. This first Sunday we will read of the partnership Paul shares with the church in Philippi and the great joy it brings to him in spite of his current circumstances: imprisonment. From prison Paul prays for the new Christians of Philippi as they learn to balance their new call to follow Christ as citizens of Rome. In a day and age where our feelings are often dictated by our circumstances, Paul’s letter to the Philippians should serve as a great source of encouragement for us to find our joy in Jesus and our heavenly citizenship, no matter our circumstances!
Memory and Hope: We live in the present between memory and hope. The past lives on in memory, for good or for ill, enabling or debilitating us for the future which looms ahead. Do we see an open doorway to hope, or is the door closed? The last Sunday of the year is a good time to pause and pay attention to our memories of the past year and our hopes for the new year. We will have a time of body life to share memories and hopes for which we can give thanks and offer prayers.