Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Practice of Belonging

Luke 5:1-11 & Philippians 2:1-5 by Rev. David L.S. Robertson
Series:Journey to the Heart of God - All about Relationships!

In the Christian Church Calendar, this is really like New Year’s Eve. It’s the last Sunday in the Church year, which means next Sunday is Advent and we begin the new year anticipating the Birth of Jesus. But that would mean getting ahead of ourselves. For today, let’s stay with the Christian Church’s equivalent of New Year’s Eve, called the Reign of Christ Sunday. I usually find New Year’s Eve a little bewildering. It seems to be a lot of out with the old and in with the new. Or, a listing of all the things we’re going to do differently with our best intentions attached. Or maybe some reflection and introspection on the year that has passed. And of course, there’s noise makers, confetti, food, libations, and most importantly the traditions of bringing in the new year with our loved ones and friends. It’s that last part about being with loved ones and friends that I think really connects with Paul’s reflections from today’s reading according to his letter to the Philippians. He had in mind, the Philippian church as a gathering of loved ones and friends—journeying together to the heart of God. Paul deeply loved his Christian communities. His letters were always encouraging and loving (except the Galatians who were nothing but a source of frustration for him—they were Celts, what can you do). But that being the distraction that it is, and hopefully a spark of humour, Paul always found ways to encourage, support, and love even in the face of other distractions, challenges or disruptions. Always. And yes, even the Galatians. Paul writes, “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, and consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, and compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind…. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interest of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” (Phil.2: 1-2, 4-5) It’s a great New Year’s Eve letter. It offers a reset as we move into the New Year and the coming weeks of Advent. What a beautiful intention that we set ourselves about the practices of encouragement, love, compassion, sympathy and joy—that we not hunker down into our own self-interests but look upon the interests of others—that we be of one mind, and have the mind of Christ in us—which really is about journeying together to the heart of God. We are on the cusp of the New Christian Year and Paul reminds us about the kind of headspace and heart-space we need to be in as we contemplate the reign of Christ. This takes practice… of course. But I am convinced that it is more relevant and necessary than ever.
Duration:14 mins 16 secs