SCRIPTURE: Philippians 1:21-30
21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26 so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
27 Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28 and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29 For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— 30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Gilberto Collzao shares, “Sometimes our eyes are so focused on the sky, waiting for our resurrection and ‘true life,’ that we miss in our present life the opportunities for the abundant life to which Christ calls us. We know that tomorrow holds promises of hope and joy. Our God, though, is also in our present, challenging us to look at life and its circumstances through the lens of hope that will bring a song of joy into our life. God has already spoken a word of life on our behalf. This spoken word will help us find hope in the midst of the most difficult situations life will lob at us.”
This really hits home right now as I think a lot of people, myself included, are focusing greatly on the future – when this virus is under control when life can go back to normal. And it is important to look to the future as we plan and strategize, but we should not forget about the present. In the midst of this pandemic, God is present. Even though time feels like it is standing still right now, there is a lot going on in our lives. This time, while challenging, can also serve as a chance to take a step back and take a breath.
In what ways can you try to focus more on the here and now, but not in ways that cause you to be overwhelmed or to be filled with anxiety over the pandemic? What things are still going on right in your own home that you can lift up and take strength from?
God of all time and space, you have always been and will always be. Your love is both present and future, and we know it has flowed throughout all human history and before. Help us in this present time to grow and be strengthened by your love and grace. Help us in this present time to be responsible, safe, and healthy. Help us in the future to reconnect with one another when this pandemic is gone. Help us to return in larger numbers to come before you in praise, thanksgiving, and worship. We ask these things in your name. Amen.