I was able to fill in and preach for one of our colleagues this past Sunday and the scripture I used was Philippians 1.3-11. In this letter to the Philippians, Paul starts with these words, “I thank my God every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed until now.”
I like the imagery of this scripture for so many reasons. First, it’s a reminder to all of us that as we build relationships with each other, within our churches, and within our communities, we need to remain rooted in prayer. And our prayers for each other should be filled with joy and gratitude that we are on this journey together. They should be prayers that celebrate and give thanks for the gifts that each of us bring to our faith, to our ministry, and to our lives as followers of Christ. We root ourselves as a people in prayer, and as we pray, we give thanks for the ones who walk alongside us in this work.
I also love the last part of this scripture because it is a reminder that we have been partners in this ministry of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ from the very beginning. Our partnership did not begin July 1 of this year, or when we got appointed to our current church, or when a new pastor came to join us. Our partnership began the moment we were born, the moment we were welcomed into God’s love.
As we learn how to trust and support one another, as we build relationships together, as we dream about the ministry that God is calling us to, know that I am praying for you and it is a prayer filled with joy for each of you and the ministry you are doing. Know also, that like this letter to the Philippians, my trust and support go much deeper and further than prayer. Prayer is the beginning and then we put that prayer and that joy into action, working together, side-by-side, to build God’s kingdom. I thank God every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy.