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Thursday, 6 April 2017

"Praying with Joy... Sharing in the Gospel"

"I ask for the grace to pray and meditate on behalf of my congregation.  May we learn patience, tolerance, compassion, empathy and gentleness.  May we abstain from anger, anxiety, compulsive behaviour, discouragement, and shame.  May we know and follow Jesus more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly, as he prepares to enter the city of Jerusalem."

Philippians 1:3-8
3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6I 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. 7It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. 8For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

1) "...praying with joy;" "...I am confident in this... the one who began a good work... will bring it to completion;" " hold me in your heart;" "...share in God's grace;" "...God is my witness;" " I long for all of you;" "...the copassion of Christ Jesus;" "...I remember you;" "...constantly prayering with joy;"

2)  How do we share in the gospel?  Most days, I could create a log list of how we DO NOT share in the gospel.  I'm more likely to take the ways we share in the gospel for granted.  But there are many ways we share in the gospel from the many ministries we share from food bank, to soup kitchen, to thrift shop, to worship, to study, to fellowship, to affordable housing, to refugee sponsorship and support.  We share abundantly in the gospel as we build lives and  meaning together.  But there is a but.  Is what we are currently doing to share in the gospel sustainable?  will we be able to keep doing it?  And does it move us to pray with joy in every one of our prayers?  Are we confident that the One who began a good work among us will bring it to completion?  I think we often thank ourselves for the work, and forget that we serve more than our own sense of right and wrong.  We serve out of self-righteousness, maintaining what has been, rather than seeking God's will for today. 

3)  What is the invitation in all this?  To serve with joy.  To continue sharing the Gospel through worship, fellowship and service.  To trust that the One who began a good work among us will bring it to completion.  To hold those with whom I serve in my heart, as I trust they hold me in theirs. 

"Holy One, who began a good work among us, bring your work to its completion.  Make us joyful in service to one another and help us to hold one another in our hearts."

Breathprayer: "Praying with joy... sharing in the Gospel."

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