For the next three weeks Glendale Church of the Brethren will be working through the New Testament book of Philippians! Throughout this time I hope we learn about the early church, the life and ministry of Paul, and also the ways Glendale Church of the Brethren lives out this same vision in our neighborhood today!
This week our scripture is Philippians 1:1-11, this is Paul’s opening address to the congregation in Philippi and it covers the themes of thanksgiving and prayer. Here, Paul is thankful for the church at Philippi, thankful for their faithfulness
to God, and thankful for their partnering with him. And so Paul’s prayer is, “that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:10-11a).
In this opening we have, what Augustine says, is the central point of the entire Bible: love of God and love of neighbor. Paul’s love for God shines through this text as he joyfully bears the chains of persecution even while proclaiming Christ. And, his love for neighbor is evident through warm lines of scrolled fellowship and mutual devotion with the believers in Philippi.
Gratitude and love, thanksgiving and prayer; these are the themes which will ground our study of the early church, the ministry of Paul, and our own church’s ministry in our neighborhood! Stay tuned for how our journey through Philippians brings depth and new life to our congregational life! And, for those of you who cannot join us on Sunday, consider this question, how does gratitude and love shape you and your Christian journey in the world?