Prayer: Lord, I praise you for this day and the possibility it brings for continuing joy in the faith. I pray that my life will be worthy of the Gospel and firmly rooted in your Spirit.
Reading: Philippians 1: 21-30 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: In today’s scripture Paul is in prison and he is writing to the Philippians to reassure them of his strength and will to serve. Paul is very transparent here as well; prison is far from a walk in the park for him, he says that he would rather die, but he has chosen to remain faithful and joyful! I have learned a lot about joy in the past year, and what I found was the most important attribute of joy is that it is not situational. Joy is simply a choice. I personally found it more difficult to choose joy after I tore my LCL and ACL last September. Suddenly I found myself on crutches and unable to participate in the sports and activities that I thought brought me joy. Later I found that they made me happy, and my joy stems from elsewhere (God!).
Christ gave us countless reasons to choose joy every day when he suffered for us on the cross. Being a Christian does not mean that we will have sunshine in all of our days. We will experience storms and suffering. In verses 29 and 30, Paul tells the Philippians that believing in and suffering for Christ is a privilege. Storms may arise while we live in this world but with Christ as our vessel we can laugh at the storm! --Anne Harshbarger
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