Hello! Welcome to the book of Philippians, or as I so embarrassingly said in 5th grade when I was liturgist to the church...the book of the Philippines... Oh boy. Paul traveled far but not quite that far! An important thing to know about this letter is that it was written from prison and is the first one we've read where that is the case. So in the times where you read Paul desiring to "be with you again" or even "that it would be better for me to die" you can have a better understanding of where Paul's head is at during his writing. Prisons are sort of a difficult space for American Christians. They are overflowing, disproportionately filled with poor people and people of color, and more often are places of punishment rather than rehabilitation. In fact, those that go to prison are more likely to recommit a crime than not! Clearly, something must be done, but as Christians we don't know how to react because we too often believe prison is where "bad people go" and that Christians are "good people." But such moral distinctions are what hold us back and what Paul was arguing against in Galatians! Try to imagine Paul sitting in prison today writing you this letter as a pen pal. Read his depression and his longings and take time to pray for the people in prison today who feel the same way as he does. With that, let's dive in and see what lessons of faith we can find from a person whose faith is the only thing he has.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What experience do I have with prison? (personally been, know of family that have been, worked, or nothing.) How does that influence my reading? How does that influence my opinions of the facility?
Paul writes that he does not know whether to hope for life or for death. What experience do I have with depression? How does that influence my reading of this?
There's some more fun commentary to share on the format of the reading and the content for sure but I want to start us off with the overview video from Bible Project to set a baseline for what to expect coming up and to get a visual. Enjoy!
Praying the Hymns
Our prayer for today is inspired by the written prayer found on page 321 in our hymnal - Sunday of Easter. I invite you to read this prayer as you close out your study of todays scripture.
Almighty God, you give us the joy of celebrating our Lord's resurrection. Give us also the joys of life in your service, and ring us at last to the full joy of life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.