If you are able, go ahead and stand up as you prepare to read today’s scripture passage found on the “Listen” page. If you would like, take your shoes off so you can feel the ground beneath you. Go ahead, really… stand up.
Take a moment to feel the ground underneath your feet. Press down all ten of your toes. Become aware of what the ground feels like. Is it rough? Is it soft and welcoming? Turn your awareness to the earth supporting you as you stand, feeling the strength in your feet.
Now before you go on, take three deep, strong breaths as you stand tall, ready to experience God’s Word today.
Most important, live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel. Do this, whether I come and see you or I’m absent and hear about you. Do this so that you stand firm, united in one spirit and mind as you struggle together to remain faithful to the gospel. That way, you won’t be afraid of anything your enemies do. Your faithfulness and courage are a sign of their coming destruction and your salvation, which is from God.
Have you ever played the game “Red Rover”? I’m pretty sure it has been banned from many schools… one too many dislocated shoulders. (If you are of a generation who never had the thrill of playing this at recess, just google it and you’ll see why.)
A team of one person, standing as firm as he or she can, can only possibly be as strong as that one person. But in a team of multiple people, arms linked together – there’s strength in their unity. Our text today comes from a letter written to the church in Philippi encouraging them to “live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel"… so that they can stand firm.
You want to be able to stand firm? You want to live not in fear, but in the strength of the Lord? Then find yourself a community that is seeking to do the same. Gather around folks who are daily seeking to live out Christ’s gospel. Friends, we were created for community, we cannot stand firm without one another.
Relational, communal God, I can’t do this alone. Point me towards a community that I can share in life’s joys and sorrows with. Help me bind together with sisters and brothers so that we might stand firm, united in one spirit. Amen.
Today, may you stand firm.
Stand firmly aware that the God who walked in the flames with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is the same God who walks this road with you.
May you stand firm on the foundation built for you by the God who loves you fiercely.