I appreciate the pattern that Matt set at BRCC in many ways. One, in particular, is that he would guide the church through an entire ‘book’ of the Bible. It could be easier to pick and choose and use passages to support what you wanted to say, but confronting an entire letter or gospel or prophet necessarily causes you to confront the entirety of scripture. Wednesdays in Philippians is bringing that confrontation to me.
“Do all things without complaining or arguing”… grumbling. Oops. I don’t think that can mean don’t express dismay, or don’t question the things. The Psalmists do quite a bit of that. Of course, they do all seem to come back around to rejoice. In all the things rejoice. And be glad. Paul says that here too. Even if he’s poured out, sacrificed.
Honestly I’ve asked myself the last few daze what else could we latch on to besides mercy and grace. Life is pain, highness. There seems to be so much of it around. So much. New each day. I wish I knew why. I wish I didn’t want to know why. Maybe there is no why.
Elsewhere Paul calls on us to press on. Keep… going. Here he says shine like stars. The generation is crooked and corrupt. That’s not us and them. They aren’t corrupt and I’m pure. Laughable. The corruption is mine as well… somehow. But we do live amid this crookedness. Things are upside down.
But… glory. Everytime we dance. Everytime we love. Brings us closer to glory. We know it. I sense it. There’s something else. There’s a different way. This is my faith. Day by day this faith takes gut punches and is deceived. It can easily seem as though massacres and disease and hatred and greed and war and power are the realities. But the reality is peace and health and love and generosity and wholeness and gentleness. This is the reality I sense. The sight I see, though sometimes as only through a glass dimly lit.
Hold on, Paul urges. Hold tight. Press on. Small steps are still steps. And clinging, grasping to the hope of the ultimate and true reality brings light. And what may seem to me as the smallest glimmer, in fact, ripples through the universe as the light of the brightest star. And in combination with your light! With our light…
(Fly Famous Mockingbird just came on… no joke. And I’ve got the chills. Grace and Peace y’all.)
12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmuring and arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. 16 It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you— 18 and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.