If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:4-14 (NIV)
How well do you wait for things? Are you patient waiting to hear back with RSVPs after invitations go in the mail? Are you calm after medical tests in the time it takes to call you back with results? How about waiting to set out on a vacation?
In Lent, we remember the miraculous birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This is the story at the heart of Christian transformation, yet the key which unlocks our own understanding is remembering it is not we ourselves who work that transformation. It is an act and gift of God’s grace which initiates and continues our growth.
We can tell this was both difficult and liberating for Paul, someone who prior to putting on the yoke of discipleship pursued life as a Pharisee with great enthusiasm. I believe this description fits many of us, too. We work hard at improving and perfecting ourselves, yet it is not our own goodness which saves us but our faith and cooperation with Christ’s ongoing work. One of the challenges in this is that we must wait on God’s timing.
So here we are, waiting, once again. Yet while we wait, we need not be idle. There is much to do! Much for you to participate in, too. Please read through the announcements and consider what new area of ministry you may be able to participate in this Lent and beyond. Help with one of our meals during Holy Week, share your gifts of singing and playing, purchase flowers, do some landscaping, sign up to share a dish at International Cuisine Night… there is so much good to participate in, and you are abundantly welcome to participate in all of it while we wait together.
Grace and Peace,