The Apostle Paul loved the early church located in the ancient city Philippi. The congregation got along for the most part. Their theology was sound. Their rituals relevant. Their relationship with the government stable. We see throughout Paul’s letter to the Philippian people his fondness for them.
Here is the opening: “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”
Is that not beautiful? Who doesn’t want to receive a letter that begins with such devotion from a pastor and mentor? Highland, how are you doing with finding the courage to cherish? I hope you feel empowered to name the moments and parts of this faith community that equip you for the living of these days—both at church and in our world. Naming what you cherish can be a bold move, especially in the face of trauma or transition. Celebrating what you hold dear, even as external circumstances swirl, offers hope and a promise that not all is lost.
I meant so much what I said at the close of the 11am worship service on Sunday. The gift of standing alongside you in the pews to sing the Doxology—a hymn of praise—in light of three services that offered honest faithful giving testimonies, poignant prayers, the story of Bartimaues getting to see again, relevant orchestration and hymnary, and the opportunity to name the trials of our world in a sermon…it all ministered to this minister in profound ways. I cherish these sacred moments, just as I do the chance to serve as one of your pastors. May God continue this good work in each of us and in our church.