worship for October 12

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Our focus for October 12 is Philippians 4.1-9:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

 

 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

In the Lectionary Study Group (which still meets each Tuesday at noon!) we discussed the idea that it’s difficult to rejoice always, because we tend to be dwelling on (obsessing about?) the past and looking forward to the future, but rejoicing is something we do NOW.  We then thought that perhaps being in the present (instead of dwelling on things we can’t change in either the past or the future) is the key to the peace that passes all understanding.  This also made me think of my time in Egypt, where people add “insha’allah” (God willing) to everything they say–they say “see you tomorrow, insha’allah” and “we can meet on Monday morning at 10, insha’allah”…etc.  It used to drive me crazy, but at the same time I think it might be a helpful reminder that we are not in control of the future, only what we do right now.  And knowing that, we can be at peace and rejoice.  (TCP)

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One response »

  1. I like the emphasis you put on living in the present as a key to joy. It got me thinking about a friend of mine who sometimes experienced the present as so terrifying that he could not live there. But what is interesting is that he survived the terrifying moments because he could “make” his own present. His words resonate with the last verses of this passage from Paul: “Whatever is true, whatever is honourable… think about these things.”

    My friend is a veteran of World War II. He served in the Canadian Navy on a ship that sailed out of Halifax and brought supplies to submarines that were on patrol out in the Atlantic Ocean shipping lanes. He told me about how keen his sense of mortality was as they went about their mission, a virtually defenseless supply ship, knowing that the ocean depths harbored not only friendly submarines but also enemy submarines which, given a chance, would blow them to smithereens. At night Loren would lie in his bunk aware that a mere couple of inches of wooden hull stood between him and the cold water of the north Atlantic. And he would begin to think about what the future might hold. Not the distant future… the immediate future… perhaps even the next few seconds. He would begin to imagine that an enemy torpedo was on its way cutting through the water towards his boat and that perhaps before he could even take another breath it would smash through the hull that he was lying next to.

    The sheer terror that reigned in the mind of the young sailor was all the more palpable to me because as he told me about it we were standing on the deck of a U. S. naval vessel that had participated in D-Day when the allied armies stormed ashore on the coast of France. How easy it was to imagine that ship filled with soldiers and sailors who literally did not know what the future would hold for them… who did not know if they even had a future.

    Even before I could ask Loren volunteered his strategy for handling the terror that he felt. It was simple enough but it gave me all the more of a sense of connectedness to my friend. “I used to think of the things that made me happy,” he said. “I thought about Sunday School picnics and baseball games and my favorite fishing spots. I pictured every detail about them until it felt like I was really there.”

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