We enjoyed a wonderful time of being together in person on Sunday. I have to admit that wearing masks made for a strange environment. Yet I am thankful that everyone showed love and concern for those around them by submitting to the uncomfortable nature of this dynamic. Thank you for caring for one another in this way.
This Sunday, we will come together once again in the same way (9:15 AM in the circle drive area of the church). You can read about the details in Colleen’s blog post if you have not done so already. I am sure that many of you will join us via live stream. We continue to study Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi. Last week, we talked about Paul’s joy in the midst of uncertainty. This week, Paul goes a step further by acknowledging the advance of the gospel as a result of unwelcome dynamics.
Let me encourage you to take a moment to read the passage as you prepare for worship. I will include it below.
Also, I would like to mention that we will be taking part in communion this week in our worship. We will provide individual sealed packets to each person. You will be asked to pick up a packet from a table on your way in. At the appropriate time, we will be instructed to open our packet and participate in communion. We will dispose of our packets as we leave. If you are joining via live stream, you will want to have your elements ready before the service begins.
I hope you have a wonderful week.
(Philippians 1:12-30 NTE) Now, my dear family, I want you to know that the things I’ve, been through have actually helped the gospel on its way. You see, everybody in the Imperial Guard, and all the rest for that matter, have heard that I am here, chained up, because of the Messiah, the king. My imprisonment has given new confidence to most of the Lord’s family; they are now much more prepared to speak the word boldly and fearlessly. There are some, I should say, who are proclaiming the king because of envy and rivalry; but there are others who are doing it out of good will. These last are acting from love, since they know that I’m in prison because of defending the gospel; but the others are announcing the king out of selfishness and jealousy. They are not acting from pure motives; they imagine that they will make more trouble for me in my captivity. So what? Only this: the king is being announced, whether people mean it or not! I’m happy to celebrate that!Yes, and I really am going to celebrate: because I know that this will result in my rescue, through your prayer and the support of the spirit of King Jesus. I’m waiting eagerly and full of hope, because nothing is going to put me to shame. I am going to be bold and outspoken, now as always, and the king is going to gain a great reputation through my body, whether in life or in death. You see, for me to live means the Messiah; to die means to make a profit. If it’s to be living on in the flesh, that means fruitful work for me.Actually, I don’t know which I would choose. I’m pulled both ways at once: I would really love to leave all this and be with the king, because that would be far better. But staying on here in the flesh is more vital for your sake. Since I’ve, become convinced of this, I know that I will remain here, and stay alongside all of you, to help you to advance and rejoice in your faith, so that the pride you take in King Jesus may overflow because of me, when I come to visit you once again. The one thing I would stress is this: your public behaviour must match up to the gospel of the king. That way, whether I do come and see you or whether I remain elsewhere, the news that I get about you will indicate that you are standing firm with a single spirit, struggling side by side with one united intent for the faith of the gospel, and not letting your opponents intimidate you in any way. This is a sign from God: one that signifies their destruction, but your salvation. Yes: God has granted you that, on behalf of the king, you should not only believe in him, but also suffer for his sake. You are engaged in the same struggle which you once watched me go through; and, as you now hear, I’m still going through it.