Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 18 Year 1
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you” (Philippians 1: 3 & 4)
There are many in my life I thank God for. God has put people in my path that are very pleasing to me and many who go out of their way to help me.
I have family friends and friends who are like family. It’s nice when it works both ways. I have a brother with whom I don’t always agree but who is my lifelong friend. I have a recent friend who is closer to me than biological family members. Blood may be stronger than water but spirit is stronger than blood.
I have parish and Church friends with whom I have bonded with based on our common belief in Jesus. This may be the relationship Paul was talking about to the Church in Philippi. This is a very strong relationship because of our common belief in the love of God for all humanity and our resurrection in Christ Jesus. And like Paul said, I too give thanks to God for my spiritual family that didn’t have to be, but now is. As a result of my church family I have made good friends with people outside of the Church but who are also dear to me.
The friends I have because of my Church relationship extend to a man who comes and instructs me in guitar playing. And this also includes my sponsors into Free Masonry which brought me many good friends who strive to make themselves better men. Yes, I do thank God for them in my prayers.
Also through the Church I have clergy friends. These are men and women who, like me, depend on God for guidance as we companion with church members for their spiritual welfare. It’s not easy. So to have a clergy forum where we can have dialogue about church leadership is priceless and truly something I am thankful to God for.
Yesterday as I preached on the cost of discipleship my words began to say that while we are not to actually hate our family (Luke 14: 25 – 26). But in making Jesus first we are able to love family and friends even more. I told my listeners that as they put Jesus first and prayed for their family and friends they would find that they would have even greater love for them. Again, Paul says, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you” This is so true. Try it and see.
Ponder anew what the Almighty is doing. John+