Thursday, September 17, 2020

September 17 – Thursday prior to Proper 20

Philippians 1:1-5; 6-11; 19-27 - Our Epistle lesson for this week speaks of the generosity of Christ both in life and in death. Paul finds life on earth is Christ while the anticipation of death is gain. Paul says he does not know whether to live or die, because death would mean heaven and a closer relationship with Christ, his greatest reward. Thus our life here on earth is nothing but preparation for our life to be lived in glory.

During the summer months we went through a systematic and organized series of reading through Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. This coming week we will consider the opening lines of his letter to the Philippian congregation.  He begins by writing with a greeting, “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (1:1-2)

The course and flow of God’s good work in us is seen in Paul’s prayer (Philippians 1:9-11). God’s good work begins with love (verse 9). But, Paul’s hope is that this deep and passionate commitment to love might overflow with “knowledge and insight” (verse 9). This is an appeal that their love might be right-sighted; that they might be wise and judicious in their actions, so that when the day of Christ comes they might prove to be “pure and blameless” (verse 10). Perhaps the best way to understand this is to speak of an intense and blemish-free reflection of the life and love of Christ.

A final note here is that Paul anticipates that it is through their devotion to Jesus Christ and their life in Him, that the Philippians will have produced a harvest of righteousness (Philippians 1:11) -- that is, plainly understood, they will have embraced the challenge of living and establishing justice. [1]

Collect for Proper 20Lord God heavenly Father, since we cannot stand before You relying on anything we have done, help us trust in Your abiding grace and live according to Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[2]

[2] Collect for Proper 20, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis

No comments: