Thursday, September 15, 2011

Philippians 1, from the other side

"Forgive me Blogger, it has been four days since my last blog entry."

I think that four days is as long as I've gone since February. Having to show up at a federal court at 7:30 every morning, handing over all of your electronic devices, and then spending all day listening to lawyers debate Vermont's energy future.......I tried to grab a few free minutes on a computer here and there, but it just didn't work. However, during boring sections of testimony I would grab my battered pocket New Testament and crib notes on Philippians.

A lot has changed since the first time I really read Philippians 1. Back then I was an earnest teenaged believer trying to memorize the whole chapter. Like the newish believers to whom Paul writes, I was encouraged by his confidence that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Like them I needed more wisdom, knowledge and discernment (although I probably thought others needed it more than I did). Like them I needed to know that my spiritual elders could use the Word to handle what life threw them. If they couldn't, what hope was there for me?

Thirty five years later it's me who prays for his young loved ones from afar, me who hopes they will have the spiritual smarts to handle the (O Baby, Baby It's A) wild world, me who knows "it is right for me to feel this way about you, because I have you in my heart." And that God knows how much I love them.

I am plenty healthy, emotionally and physically, and can reasonably expect a long, productive life of love and service. But still my kids do worry about me. Like Paul, it's my job to tell them the truth about the chains and guards of real day to day life, but without fear and self-pity and whining, because in Christ all godly choices will lead me to joy. As we enter new phases of life, I can serve them and God and myself  best by living such that "now as always, Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain."

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