Joy in community - 8 April 2021
By Xanthe Hancox
I thank my God for you every time I think of you; and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy because of the way in which you have helped me in the work of the gospel from the very first day until now. And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus.
Sharing food together is an important part of belonging and celebrating in just about every culture, group, or community across the globe. Whether it’s pizza and popcorn for a movie night at home, cake to pass around the office, or an elaborate feast for a wedding, sharing food together is good for fellowship and community.
On the evening before his death, Jesus shared a meal with his disciples. He took the bread and wine of that meal and gave special instructions so that when the disciples came together again, they could do the same and remember all that Jesus had done for them.
It’s this close communion among God’s people, the community Jesus formed by His own blood, that Paul is referring to here. The Greek word that is translated partnership here is frequently translated as fellowship or community.
It is the fellowship that united church in Jerusalem after Pentecost (Acts 2:42).
Paul (a Jew) and the Philippians (predominately Gentiles) were united in the gospel’s message, and they were united in its mission too. For all believers, as with Paul and the Philippians, our partnership in the gospel is centred upon this mission: to spread the gospel to every nation. The gospel united them together in fellowship and then scattered them in partnership to spread the good news.
Thank God for your partners in the gospel this morning. Which of your friends pray not just for your physical needs but for your walk with the Lord to deepen each day?
Prayer: God of joy and welcome, thank you for your abundant grace offered to us through Jesus. Thank you for inviting us to be a part of your family. Thank you for friends who challenge me to share the good news. In Jesus’ name, Amen