This Sunday we pick up another highlighted word from the opening line of our Vision Statement, ‘We are a community rooted in CHRIST.’ Below are three scripture lessons. All three are excerpts from church letters that Paul wrote, one to a church located in Philippi (Greece) and to another in Corinth (Greece).
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This church letter opens in a style typical to its day. This letter is ‘from’ … and written to ‘whom’.
The next line (bolded) sets the tone. Think of letters or emails you receive.
Qs. Did they come with certain tone or attitude that governs them?
What, if anything, does the bolded line (above) tell us about Paul’s and Timothy’s hearts?
Those with expertise in language tell us that this next part (below) is very lyrical and was likely part of an early hymn these churches would have sung together.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Music is still an important part of our worship.
Bring to mind a musical piece, either hymn or song or chorus or cantata or even instrumental.
Qs. Can you explain why this musical piece has become so important to you?
Is it connected to a life experience?
Do you find that words put to music help you to retain it in your memory?
If the scripture/letter above had become an early worship hymn, what about CHRIST was meant to
2 Corinthians 5:16-19
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.
The verses above are both personal and cosmic. If ‘anyone’ (personal) is in Christ, there is a new creation. In Christ God was reconciling the world (cosmic) to himself.
Consider the connection/encounter with Jesus you have had in your own life.
Qs. What became new or different?
Where does your personal newness connect with the world that Jesus is changing?