Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for one another. I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind. Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:
He always had the nature of God,
but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God.
Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had,
and took the nature of a servant.
He became like a human being
and appeared in human likeness.
He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—
his death on the cross.
For this reason God raised him to the highest place above
and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.
And so, in honour of the name of Jesus
all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees,
and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
So then, dear friends, as you always obeyed me when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey me now while I am away from you. Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation, because God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose.
The difficult times in our journey may not be the times that darken our thoughts. They are often the time when we are drawn into a richer and deeper relationship with God. When life is at a fragile Thin Place, where heaven and earth meet, God’s light glimmers in unexpected ways. The Spirit reveals truths for us, and in us. Jesus, Companion, walks with us in the face of a known friend or a complete stranger. And in all these moments, God is always at work in us. A courageous moment, may simply be waking up. The strongest moment, may be when you greet another. The kindness and compassion you offer, may be the gift that God is calling you to give that day. Refreshing water springs from rocky places when we least expect it. Humbly moving forward, with grace for each moment, may be the calling for you now.
Prayer of Confession
lend you ear to our call,
for we sometimes lose our way.
Draw us to you,
when we are not following your path
and forget your teachings.
With the busyness of life,
we too often look down.
We miss the shining presence
of your smiling face in the face of another.
We miss the sound of your song of hope,
In the music of nature.
We miss your tender touch,
In the hand of a stranger.
When we look to our own path, our own feet,
We miss so much.
We lose vision and hope,
a sense of purpose and direction,
a companionship with you.
We are sorry.
Draw our eyes forwards
so that we too, walk the path of obedience.
Open our inner ears,
So that we hear again your teachings.
Direct our feet,
So that we do not stumble on human concerns.
Guide us with your light of hope,
And may we hold it high so others see your way.
Words of Assurance
Our Friend and Companion on the pathway of life,
although we may forget it,
you are always at work in us,
for the glory of your kingdom.
Prayer of Adoration and Thanksgiving
Out of the desert experiences,
you bring us the sweet water of refreshment.
Just when we are at our wits end,
you offer an answer in the most unexpected ways.
Out of hard places,
flow the new life-giving spring.
Too often, we need someone to point out the way.
Source of Life, Friend on the journey,
Your Spirit sweeps through with winds of change.
How miraculous are your ways!
How thankful are we, your people, that you bless us and care for us,
Even when at first, we do not understand.
We offer you our thanks and praise,
for you are the God of wonder!