Sunday, June 18, 2017

We Are One Body

1 Corinthians 10:17 (NLT): We are all United in Christ
And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body.
In this part of St. Paul’s first letter to the faithful at Corinth, he chides them for their divisive behavior. They are bad-mouthing each other and eating food offered to idols; this went against what Paul (and Jesus) taught regarding love for God and neighbor. Paul gives them a plain reminder of who they are in Jesus Christ -- “one body.”
Division is easy, but unity takes sacrifice. When we put aside our differences and focus on the core of who we are as faithful, loving people, our world blooms with a peace that only God can give. Paul reminds us of this: We need to come together. We need to love each other. We need to celebrate and remember our unity in Christ.
One of the best illustrations of this unity is a recent prayer gathering I attended. As we held hands and prayed, the unity was electric. Even though we all come from diverse Christian backgrounds, we are bound by our faith in Jesus Christ and that is a beautiful thing -- “we are one body.”
Let us pray:
Eternal Father,
Look upon your people with mercy … and give us the Spirit of Jesus to make us one in love.  We ask this gift, loving Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Have a blessed week,

Stan

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Remember the Love

Philippians 4:8 (NLT): Remember the Love
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
The end of the school year is here, and as I contemplate June and what it brings, I cannot help but experience a flood of mixed feelings. The juxtaposition of wonder and sadness set the backdrop of my thoughts. But in my heart-of-hearts, when I recall the shining faces of the students I serve and the joyful presence of the people with whom I work, I feel the flood of Christ’s peace. Successes, failures, challenges, and celebrations have paved the road of life in Christ this school year. And as I prepare to share these last few days with my dear students, I thank God for His love, strength, and grace. For without Him, I can do nothing.
St. Paul writes to a dear, loving Philippian church that has given him support and encouragement, especially during the time he wrote this letter. For at the time, Paul was imprisoned. In the letter, however, especially chapter 4 where this verse is located, Paul tells the church community, “Thank you.” Professor Jouette Bassler writes that “the Philippians had heard of [Paul’s] imprisonment, and Paul wanted to reassure them of his undiminished joy -- even in those circumstances. . . He wanted to express his gratitude for their gift and for their constant friendship” (2099). Paul, also, reminds his friends to be of a loving mind -- to rejoice in the things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Paul reminds us that our mindset means everything.
I pray that as we end this school year, we, too, “think about these things” and remember the love we share. Let us, with the mind and heart of Christ, recognize and celebrate where God uses us to love, forgive, support, and be an agent of His peace. And let those comforting thoughts draw us closer to the One Who is love. Amen.
Have a blessed week!

Stan