Last week I was nailed with the flu for a few days. It wasn’t pleasant for several reasons that I won’t go into here. I will simply say that I am very glad it is over. I am pretty sure that all of you who have ever had even a light case of the flu don’t look forward to it returning. If you do – well, you may need to visit a doctor for a reason other than the flu then!
One other thing I really hate about being sick is missing out on things. Last week I was unable to get together with people in a number of settings. Some were regular weekly gatherings, some were special events like a birthday gathering and others were one on one meetings. I appreciate a little down time as much as the next guy, but too much forced alone time is really a drag. God made me to go through life with you and I feel a bit off when I am not able to connect with you.
Our God has a lot of really good ideas. One of them is that people are to love each other. That means to go through life together. It also means that as we consider our Advent series, Joy Unleashed we are to realize that joy is meant to be celebrated in community. The Apostle Paul knew God created us like this and it constantly shows up in his writings. For instance, our text for this Sunday’s message is Philippians 1:1-11 where he says this:
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 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.
We are to find joy in each other!
Far too often, we go through life just occasionally bumping into each other rather than looking at each other as partners in the Gospel. This partnership Paul is talking about means that we find the greatest depth of connection at the point that matters most. When the love and sacrifice of Jesus unites us, all other differences find their proper weight and place. In fact, we may find that the very differences in each other that we struggle with are the differences that make us capable to accomplish things we never could with a group of people just like me.
From creation God made us to go through this journey together. When sin entered our world, it brought a natural division into our relationships instead of joy filled connections. But with the Advent and arrival of Jesus we once again can be overwhelmed with joy in all our relationships. God has given us this power. Let’s claim it and live it this year!
The source of true joy has come, and His name is Jesus. This is the joy that has the power to change everything. Let’s be united in praying that Oak Hill’s partnership in the Gospel would guide our community’s relationships and mission.
Pastor Nick Mundis