Summary: The presence of Christ
† In the name of Jesus Christ †
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Philippians 1:2 (NLT)
Form ensures action
It was the reason that I would never make the gymnastics team, or if there was one, a diving team. It was the reason that I would never be able to dance like Fred Astaire, or Gene Kelly, or my dad. My body just didn’t have it, one escapable requirement to be successful in those things…
Good Form. As a child and then as a teen, I was awkward, and gangly, unable to exert the fine motor control required of a gymnast, or a ballroom dancer, or a diver.
Our lives our much like a youth, trying to master, or even be good at a sport. Or perhaps, more like wet cement. Without form, we go all over the place, not quite capable of doing that which was envisioned for our lives. Living joyfully becomes challenging, for there is a conflict, dissonance between how we would want to live, and how we actually do. We may try and find excuses for the dissonance, we may project it onto others, and blame them for it. That conflict, caused by our sin, may cause our relationships great challenge, and rob us from the very joy, that would exist, if we lived in true peace.
Paul picks up on this, in our epistle reading today. He is writing to the church in Philippi – a good church, made up of good people, yet challenged by the dissonance in their lives, especially as those lives intersect with others in their community, who are likewise challenged. He desires to improve their form, the model that their lives are based on.
Our epistle reading describes how Paul envisioned the church living in faith,
It’s people would have similar thoughts about life, thoughts based in the same love and devotion to each other, they would have the same soul-felt reaction to life. Each person would know that others value them, even to the extent of sacrificing their needs, to help each other. And if one person had a concern, all would share in that concern.
Paul writes about this, to the church in Rome as well. There he says,
12 Base your happiness on your hope in Christ. When trials come endure them patiently, steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer. 13 Give freely to fellow-Christians in want, never grudging a meal or a bed to those who need them. 14 ... as for those who try to make your life a misery, bless them. Don’t curse, bless. 15 Share the happiness of those who are happy, the sorrow of those who are sad. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t become snobbish but take a real interest in ordinary people. Don’t become set in your own opinions. with everyone. Romans 12:12-16(Phillips NT)
When I consider my life, and its “form”, I often look at such passages, and get depressed. For it seems that at first, they do not encourage me on, but only show how little I have grown, and how much I need to grow. Anyone else ever have that feeling? The idea of feeling guilty because I see how far short of the standard the Bible sets?
We would cry out, with the people in our Old testament reading today, when confronted by God with their sin. “7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ’How shall we return?’
Malachai 3 – How can we return?
One of the most incredible of passages!
2 Cor 3…
2nd Cor 8
There is a story about a pastor, a well known speaker back in the 50’s, who was visiting a church. Back in those days, the deacons would seat people, in order to keep the back rows empty. Well this pastor was seated in a row with a man, that we would probably consider homeless today. His clothes weren’t clean, and his hair was a bit wild. His eyes held a vacant stare, and he seemed a bit jittery, as his head jerked around at every noise. During the service, the visiting pastor kept wondering what the guy was doing there, I mean, could he really be getting anything out of the service? Towards communion, the hymn “Just as I am” started to be sung, when the old man asked the preacher, read me the words of the next verse, for I cannot read them. The preacher read, “Just as I am, poor, wretched and blind…” the man broke out with a large smile, saying, “it is my verse! For I am a of these. And God will help me!”