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Sunday, 9 April 2017

"Proclaim Christ... out of Good Will."

"On this Palm Sunday, I ask for the grace to pray and meditate on behalf of my community of faith.  As the St Catherine of Alexandria congregation are walking by my window singing, 'Prepare, ye the way of the Lord,' I prepare my heart for the entry into Jerusalem this morning, to sing Hosanna's knowing that after the hosannas come the cries to crucify him.  On this journey to the cross, may we learn patience, tolerance, compassion, empathy, gentleness and trust.  May we abstain from anger, anxiety, violence, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, shame, self-centeredness and greed.  May we know and follow Christ more closely; seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly."

Philippians 1:12-18
 I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, 13so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; 14and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear.
15 Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; 17the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. 18What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

1) "...beloved;" " imprisonment is for Christ;" "...speak the word with greater boldness and without fear;" "...proclaim Christ our of love;" "...the defense of the gospel;" "...Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether our of false motives or true;" " that I rejoice;" "...I will continue to rejoice;"

2) It's quite a thing to assert that "Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true."  This sounds like all publicity is good publicity.  I can't agree with that.  So many ways in which Christ has been "proclaimed" are completely false and a betrayal of the gospel: residential schools, genocide, violence, inquisitions, witch hunts, excommunications, the current persecution of LGBTTQ+ people all over the world.  The narrative of Christ has been brutalized again and again.  Like Christ himself.  Is it possible that the Imperial Church from Constantine to the last century was the Palm Sunday of Christian history?  Could it be that we are finally entering into the Holy Week and Good Friday of Christian history when there could be a genuine resurrection and right relationship will reign instead of violence and the threat of violence, arrogance, self-righteousness, xenophobia, oppression?  I can only trust and keep following the path that has meant so much to me, the path that has constantly brought me meaning, a sense of connection, renewal, and life.

3) What is the invitation in all this? to seek true motives.  To rejoice in the gospel I witness being shared genuinely.  To continue this journey, one step at a time.

"Holy One, lead on."

Breathprayer: "Proclaim Christ... out of good will."

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