God is at work in you: sermon starter for proper 21a

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Christology / Epistles / Jesus / Lectionary / New Testament / Paul / Theology / Year A

A reflection on Philippians 2:1-13, the epistle lesson for Proper 21a, according to the Revised Common Lectionary.

While deep in the parables of Matthew for the last few months, remembering to love our neighbor, to forgive, to offer grace, and revisiting the sometimes odd intricasies and reversals which characterize the Kingdom of Heaven, we might just forget the Big Thing: For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you.

God is in you.

The same God who emptied himself, taking the form of a slave. The same God who was born in human likeness and humbled himself. The same God who became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

That God is in you.

The same God who is highly exalted, and who bears the Name that is above every Name, so that at His Name, every knee in all creation bends. The same God whom every tongue confesses is Lord.

That God is in you.

It’s the mystical element of Paul’s letters that just makes me get goosebumps up and down my arms. God isn’t just this entity that’s way “out there,” but that God is in us.

So much so that it no longers matters whether we live or die. (Romans 14:8) So much so that it no longer matters if we are Gentile or Jew, slave or free, male and female. (Galatians 3:28) So much so that we bear on our bodies the marks, the brands, wounds the stigmata of Christ. (Galatians 6:7) So much so that in the waters of baptism we die with Christ, and we share in the power of his resurrection. (Romans 6:4)

God is in you.

What a gift. It’s the entirety of the Gospel, crystalized into one little phrase. God, the Creator and Redeemer of the Universe lies within you. Within your body, and within the intanglible essence which makes you you.

And, while a gift, it’s also a responsibility. For as a God-bearer we are to treat ourselves like a tabernacle which houses the Living God. And, we are to treat those around us—even the prickly ones who are hard to love—as tabernacles which house the Living God.

I also wrote these Prayers of the People based on the Christ Hymn in Philippians.

The Author

follower of Jesus, father of two, husband of one, Episcopal priest, with one book down, one blog up...surrounded by empty jars of nutella