St. Paul writes in Philippians, chapter 2, verses 1–2, 12-13:
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete ……..12Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
The month of June has its own peculiar events that can gladden the heart and point to the beginning of new things. Father’s Day is a day of remembering and honoring one of the two people that made it possible for us to be here. The commandments tell us to honor these people. Mom had her day in May; now it’s Dad’s turn. We honor dear old Dad.
Graduations are happening everywhere and we are sure they are new beginnings. How many speeches have you heard: ‘this is not the end but just the beginning.’ The next chapter of life begins with the ending of the previous term. It could be scary and challenging, yet exciting and energizing to think about where the graduate goes next. A New-Beginning!
Vacation season begins and those who are headed out the door have the opportunity to be renewed and refreshed for the next season in life. The Bible tells us, and our tradition says that we need to take Sabbath time, away time, to rejuvenate our powers. If you fail to get away periodically and recharge your batteries, you are going to run down, out of energy.
Saint Paul reminds us about our relationship with God. This God who has created us and who dearly loves us, is enabling us both to will and to work for his good pleasure. So, if God has given us the gracious gift and power to do God’s will, should we not be at the task of doing that will? Saint Paul encourages us to: ‘Work out your salvation.’ This means not that we have to work at earning that salvation, but that we are to be exercising that gift of grace, using it in our everyday lives to make this a better world.
I’ve said it before, it is like a gym membership, it’s not enough to belong to the saved community, you need to show up and do some of the hard lifting that makes a difference in people’s lives. In Jesus Christ we have been gifted with the New Life that promises eternal bliss. As a result we are glad to joyfully seek ways to generously exercise the ministry of love and care for the world and our neighbors. If we all did this, it would be a different world.
Your companion in Ministry,