Thursday, October 1, 2020

October 1, 2020 – Thursday prior to Proper 22

Philippians 3:4b-14 – God’s people strive to be examples worthy of Christ. Confidence in the flesh cannot stand. Forgetting the past, Paul presses on toward the goal of Christ and lives as an example for others. Paul defends himself as a Christian of the first order through the mercies of God. Yet, he does not think he has it “made,” but keeps striving for complete devotion to Christ by becoming one in the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ. Because he imitates Christ, he is able to ask his people to imitate him in both faith and life.

Though we are in the world, we belong to the kingdom of heaven. When Christ returns, He will transform our earthly bodies to spiritual bodies.

Paul uses this phrase “I press on” twice in this passage. It must have been important to him in getting across his plan. He is not idly waiting for perfection to come to him. He is not neutral. He is urgent, pursuing, and energetic in getting to his goal. To become like Christ is a process over a lifetime — ever striving to be like Christ in every area of life. At the same time, Paul would say that God was in him pressing on, working in him. A Christian dare not be content with his life. He is ever seeking to improve it.

In the readings for this coming week the theme of a vineyard are apparent. The wild fruit are those who are “enemies of the cross of Christ” and serve as an example of the right kind of fruit Christians produce.

In light of this text, we may reflect on what we value most as individuals and as church communities. Perhaps we tend to value certain inherited qualities or achievements as “gains” that give us value before God.  Take time examining your life and your faith, so that you may count such gains as loss and deepen your reliance upon Jesus Christ.

Visit, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep all harm and danger from them. Grant that we may dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels, sharing eternally in Your blessing; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.[1]

[1] Collect foro home and family, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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