My bible study has gotten a bit derailed by life, but we’re still plodding along after a brief hiatus. Last Sunday we covered the rest of chapter one and, as usual, several things jumped out at me.
We left Paul, if you remember, laying aside his own ego to rejoice that the gospel was being spread, even though some of those who were preaching were also trying to discredit or one-up Paul in the process. The important thing was that Christ was being preached. Period. Nothing else mattered in Paul’s mind.
Finishing the sentence I was reading, I glanced up at my daughter who had quietly entered the room. Standing beside my bed, she struggled to get the words out.
“I feel so guilty.” I watched as a wave crashed through her, spilling twin rivulets of sorrow down her flushed cheeks. “I should be able to control this by now!” She swiped her face with frustration.
When I began my study of this passage, I figured it was pretty straightforward. To be honest, I was a bit peevish to see that we would spend the whole Sunday School hour going over just 6 1/2 rather boring little verses. I mean, really. I figured it would take all of ten minutes to cover this passage. What in the world would we talk about for the other 50 minutes?
Then that whole living and active thing kicked in.
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
― Donald Miller
As I walked with my friend, the heaviness in her spirit was written on her lovely face, dampening her normal radiance. She was feeling guilty and frustrated. One of her dearest friends had called to lambaste her, letting her know in no uncertain terms that she had failed miserably as a friend. Apparently there was some sort of friend code that had been broken, a specific sort of support that had been withheld. My friend had had no idea she was so neglectful. She hadn’t even known the friendship code existed.
Paul’s prayer for the Philippians has been running through my mind all week. It’s one of those passages that leaps out and demands to be examined more thoroughly. The more I chew on it, the more tangents I could go off on, but I’ll strive to keep in line with a single train of thought. (Those who know me well know what a feat of constraint this is for me, the queen of rabbit-trails, but here goes!)
Paul’s letter to the Philippians starts out with the standard greeting, identifying himself (and often who he’s with), who the letter is intended for, followed by thanksgiving and prayer.
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice Paul is directing this message to all of God’s people, not just the overseers (those who oversaw the spiritual needs of the body) and the deacons (those who took care of the practical needs of the body). This means all, my friends, and that includes you and me.
This week I’ve been musing on the raising of teens and just what a dangerous endeavor it can be. I suppose parenting in general, really. It’s this seemingly never-ending cycle of need and rejection that starts in infancy, cruises along, and really hits its stride in the preteen or teenage years.
Teens are funny creatures. No longer children, yet not quite adults, they reel you in with need and vulnerability, firing off every nurturing mama-nerve you possess. When one’s baby is struggling, it’s a visceral response that comes out. We want to help. We want to offer wisdom. After all, we have a lot more life experience to draw from.
So we start momming.