Imago Scriptura 102 – Right Here – Philippians 1

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Blessings, Grateful, Imago Scriptura

A bunch of things came together for me today.  It began with the scripture this morning from Philippians 1 – Paul speaking of conflicting desires – a desire to be with Christ and out of the world and a desire to be with the brothers and sisters in Philippi. He says in 1:21-26…

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

What I heard in this today was Paul’s recognition that where he was was where God wanted him at that moment.  That got me thinking about contentedness with the presenta and the here.

Then, as I started reading Bonhoeffer’s Life Together a few days ago, I came to a section today that echoed a similar sense. He was writing about the importance of Christian community and he wrote the following…

If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian community in which we have been placed, even when there are no great experiences, no noticeable riches, but much weakness, difficulty, and little faith—and if, on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so miserable and so insignificant and does not at all live up to our expectations—then we hinder God from letting our community grow according to the measure and riches that are there for us all in Jesus Christ.

He also singled out pastors in this section and their relationship with the community that they serve.  He specifically noted how pastors should never complain about their congregations…

When pastors lose faith in a Christian community in which they have been placed and begin to make accusations against it, they had better examine themselves first to see whether the underlying problem is not their own idealized image, which should be shattered by God.

And then finally, I came to this…

We thank God for what God has done for us. We thank God for giving us other Christians who live by God’s call, forgiveness, and promise. We do not complain about what God does not give us; rather we are thankful for what God does give us daily. And is not what has been given us enough

So, what does all this have to do with a picture of a letter?  Well, this is just one of several hundred letters I am signing today and tomorrow as part of our congregation’s annual stewardship campaign.  I decided a few years ago that I needed to personally sign (and share) on each of the letters.  It is a tremendous blessing (even with a tired hand) to do this as I am able to pray for each of these dear people as I write to them and give thanks for the place where God has put me.  Ministry isn’t always easy, but the Christian life is not called to be easy, but it is about our faithfulness to where God has placed us.

So, I am grateful today for where God has placed me, for who God has put into my life, and for the ways that I can serve others in Christ’s name.

 

 

 

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