“…stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.” – Philippians 4:1
In the first century, St. Paul exhorted his brothers and sisters in Philippi to press on towards the prize of eternal life in Christ; to hold fast to what they had gained, urging them not to be undone by internal squabbling or external pressures. In the 21st century, these same urgings play out in a world beleaguered by a pandemic and fractious politics.
St. Paul encouraged the Philippians to observe and imitate those who live true to Christ’s teachings. Today we might call that being counter-cultural. It does take patience to wait on the Lord, and it’s tempting to grab onto the seemingly quick, simple, righteous solutions vociferously propounded by wannabe dictators. But we are citizens of heaven first, looking to Christ as our savior. Our faith isn’t in earthly power, wealth, or possessions, but only in the power of God.
When COVID first hit, our own Fr. Paul encouraged us to keep in touch with one another, wash our hands, wear masks, stay strong, stay church; we’ll get through this together. That was certainly what I needed to hear at the time. Now those words have become second nature as we continue to live a more active, but still altered life in the time of COVID.
I believe we can wait actively, as it were, by supporting and encouraging one another in our spiritual formation, in our various ministries, small groups, classes, communal worship, and, as St Paul says elsewhere, by praying without ceasing. I can also use whatever time, talent, or treasure I may have to do some good in the larger world in some way. All of this will be transformed by Christ to do God’s work in the world, and this gives me the strength and hope for a better day.
Gracious God, help me to live according to the example of Jesus, staying strong in my walk with Him, trusting only in the power of your grace. Amen.