"In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Sometimes when we come across Scripture, it can be difficult to connect the dots with our contemporary world. However, we can look at Paul's letters, written during the early post - resurrection (post-Easter) period, and see their messages continue to speak to us today. In times of uncertainty, these treasures of the New Testament lifted up, encouraged and reminded the fledgling churches of the presence of God living and breathing through each of the congregations to whom Paul wrote.
Philippi was a Roman colony in northern Greece and Paul had a special spot in his heart for the congregation there. The church at Philippi was the first church he founded, circa A.D. 50. While he was no longer there in physical presence, a piece of the church continued to abide in Paul and a piece of Paul remained in the church. The good work that God started through Paul's hands and labor persisted in spite of his physical absence.
This was clear in Paul's letter to the Philippians. Paul had just received a gift while in prison from his beloved friends and his return letter was one of thanksgiving, joy, and encouragement.
"In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:4-6 (NIV)
We have been so blessed to have Pastor Jenny and Aaron in our midst as living examples of the hands and feet of Christ. In spite of the sadness we each feel as we enter a transitional time from having them physically present with us to a time where they will be answering God's call outside of the walls and community of St John's, we are encouraged by Paul's words in chapter 4 verse 9 (NIV), "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
During this time, and as we walk through the changes in the next year, we remember that God is the same today as he was yesterday and will be in the future. St John's will continue to move forward with the joy and in the direction Pastor Jenny and other previous pastors have instilled in us. We'll continue to support and care for each other and our communities near and far and collectively work to discern and act upon God's call for us as a congregation.
In each season, in each time, we rejoice in our memories and in new opportunities in God's call for these beloved ones in our lives.
In His service,
Erin Narus, Church Council Chair
Kelly Jantunen, Church Council Vice-Chair