From the Very Rev. Dr. Michael Higgins
Readings for the Week:
Exodus 17. 1-7
Philippians 2. 1-13
Matthew 21. 23-32
The sermon this week is the first of two talks on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians. It is the shortest of Paul’s letters, and well repays study. Why not take time during the week to read it through?
Theme for the Week – Only personal faith is real.
From the start of time people have searched for God and found the task beyond them. In his letter to the Philippians St. Paul sets out in vivid language how God has shown Himself to us in a Person, as Jesus emptied Himself of His glory and took on human form. (2.7-8). The acts, words and teaching of Jesus are nothing less than the acts, words and teaching of God.
For St. Paul this means real faith has to express itself in a deep love for the Person God has sent, something he again he spells out in his letter. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1.21) and “I count everything as loss for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3.8) While morality, creeds and the Church are of central importance they all have their root in that personal knowledge of Christ without which nothing else makes sense.
This personal faith must then be expressed in a love for others, again at a personal level. St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a personal letter to friends demonstrating his concern for them in practical ways and not just in words. It is a model for us both in our own daily lives and in our church life.