The First 15

Thursday September 30, 2021

by Sharon Reid

Today is Thursday, September 30 and this week we are exploring the practice of connecting in life-giving and life-sharing relationships as the body of Christ.

Opening Prayer

As I enter into prayer, I pause to be still. I breathe slowly and recenter my scattered thoughts upon the presence of God.

Pause and Pray

Holy Spirit, come guide me into these moments of stillness. Help me use all my senses to be present with you and fully receive the goodness, beauty and truth you have to share with me today. Amen.

Scripture Reading

I choose to celebrate God’s design for our lives to be lived in community, joining with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 133.

How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!

It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore. Psalm 133: 1, 3

Pause and Pray

Once again, we turn to the Apostle Paul’s writing. And, once again, Paul is being held as a prisoner. Perhaps his confinement makes his teaching on life-giving and life-sharing community even more compelling to his listeners.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:1-4

Reflection

There is a oneness that Paul craves to see in the early Christians, a oneness that only develops when the body of Christ comes together in true humility. In the face of all the divisions that marked first-century society, Paul compelled his listeners to live into the new reality – that Christ has already reconciled us and broken down all the dividing walls of hostility.

Sharing life with a diverse group of people is not always easy, but it is absolutely necessary for my spiritual growth. Engaging my spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ requires a great deal of my time and energy, but it is absolutely necessary for my faith, and that of others, to grow and mature.

I have a calling to live into this new reality Christ created. This calling demands that, in humility, I reconcile my differences with others so that we can live and work together in unity as the body of Christ in the world.

Ask: In what ways do I struggle to live into this new reality of reconciliation and oneness that Christ created?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me examine my attitudes and thoughts about connecting with others in the body of Christ. Help me have a humble approach and live into the reality that Christ has already reconciled us and broken down every dividing wall. Guide me to a deeper understanding of the calling I have received and your message for me today as I slowly reread the words from Philippians 2.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:1-4

Ask: What image, word or phrase stood out to me this time as I read Paul’s words? How does it impact the way I will live out my calling today?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me be united with Christ today, finding comfort from his love and sharing tenderness and compassion through the Spirit. Empower me to do nothing out of selfish ambition, but rather, in humility, help me live into your gift of reconciliation and connect with others in life-giving and life-sharing relationships. Amen.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Closing Prayer

Father, prepare me to live this day being true to you in every way. Jesus, help me reach out to others with kindness and in grace. Spirit, help me remember that we, who are many and diverse, are called to live in unity, through the bond of peace, as the body of Christ for the transformation of the world. Amen.

The First 15

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