Back in November, I suggested that we set ourselves a focus, a goal, a purpose on this long COVID-19 journey we are on. You can find a copy of that pastoral letter here. In Philippians 3 Paul talks about his faith in Christ. He reminds us that he was an arrogant, religious person who thought he had it all together but then he threw all of his self-righteousness out and gave in to the grace of a loving God. The work of Jesus brought him a righteousness that his own work at keeping the law couldn’t compete with. From there, Paul says that he hasn’t obtained perfection but presses on towards the prize to which God calls us heavenward in Christ Jesus.
So I asked the question… what if?
What if for the next six months we set ourselves a spiritual purpose?
What if we give ourselves some direction of spiritual formation to concentrate our minds, heart and souls during these next 6 months towards Easter?
Six months is the new horizon
Well, we are 2 months into that journey. In some senses, things have become more difficult. We have moved from being able to meet, in a limited fashion, to a lockdown.
So… how are we doing?
Do you plan a Sabbath, a rest and restoring day, and keep it? Have you rediscovered the gift of one day each week for re-creation, not just work and chores? Plan it well. Eat well. Exercise. Care for yourself.
The early church began with a small group of disciples. This is a time for all of us to rediscover Church as a small group of people who support one another; pray for and with one another; care for each other; serve together; and, explore everyday faith together. If you haven’t connected yet, what is stopping you?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
Pray that every follower of Jesus – connected to OCC, in Orillia, in our country and world – will live in such a way as to love God and love neighbour.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”Matthew 22:37-40
This month we have focused our daily prayer around Galatians 5:19-23
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:19-23
Up to today, we have been praying through the first part (vv19-21) and so we pray that followers of Jesus would not be
be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of lifeLuke 21:34
Paul shows us how he prays for the believers in Philippi. Here are the NIV & The Message translations of Philippians 1:9-11.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.NIV
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.MSG
This week, pray this way for one another. Be praying this way when you are…
talking with others in person (although that will not be happening too much with the current restrictions),
on the phone,
video calling (on whatever platform),
on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, MeWe or other social media platform.
We are praying this way so that Jesus’ life and joy and love would overflow in and through us, for the glory of God’s name.