Philippians 1:3-5 – I thank my God for every remembrance of you, always in every one of my prayers for all of you, praying with joy for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Several years ago, I sat down and thought: “Ahhhh.” I didn’t sigh out loud, but I could almost hear the satisfaction hanging in the air. The sound of accomplishment! Finished projects! Things I’d longed to complete for days, weeks, months, even years had come together. My holly trees in the front yard were trimmed and shaped. The Hosta bed behind the house was fully lined in bricks. My bed of daylilies was weeded and fresh, and every single birdfeeder was filled to the brim.
Even my fireplace mantle was filled with all my spring decorations.
Did I do all that work myself? Of course not! I helped (a little) but my family had all pitched in to get things done together over those few days. We were in the middle of a pandemic so we couldn’t go out into the world in our usual ways, but we were discovering (or perhaps re-discovering) how to manage our time and do things together. I think that made it even more fulfilling. To see each one lend willing hands to the good of the whole warms my heart; and throughout the summer, as I looked on each project, I remembered how we shared the tasks.
Paul felt much that way about the people living in Philippi. “I thank my God for every remembrance of you, always in every one of my prayers for all of you, praying with joy for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” When they all shared the tasks and spread the work of the Church among all the people, Paul was overwhelmed with gratitude for them. They were working together when he was with them, and they were working together when he was confined in prison – all for the glory of God. He was grateful they held him in prayer, and he wished he could be with them.
I know that feeling, and it moves me beyond my small family circle. Our imprisonment that spring and summer may have been a bit different than Paul’s; but as our confinement continued, I was reminded more and more how our community was working for the glory of God and the good of God’s Church – the Body of Christ. Folks were checking on one another, providing for one another, and offering to help as we cared for and prayed for one another.
Being at Saint Andrews brings back those grateful feelings. Sickness and confinement will never end completely. We will always have needs that surround us, but I continue to be overwhelmed by the way we love one another especially in times of need. Obviously, I am not doing all the work of the Church by myself, and watching my family of friends love each other is fulfilling in a way that warms my heart. Each time I hear that you have talked with a neighbor, or supported someone with a meal, or run an errand to the grocery, I remember how we share in the projects as the hands and feet of Christ. I am grateful that my church family is holding me in prayer, and I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.
With only a few days left in this Lenten season, may I (like Paul) be confident that God – who started a good work in our church family – will stay with us to complete that work. Ahhhh. It’s a satisfying feeling.
With a warm heart,
PRAYER FROM PHILIPPIANS 1
Satisfying God, thank you that your love reaches the first, the last and everything in between. Help me to be your hands and feet in this world, and keep me moving forward in caring for others. May I praise you in grateful thanksgiving for the work of your people, and may I always remember them with joy in my heart. Amen.