“Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” Paul exhorts his Philippian readers. He encourages them to live in a way that reflects the good news of God’s love, mercy, and empowerment for new life. “Living worthily” does not mean following a strict set of rules but rather embodying the message of liberating divine love seen in Jesus Christ.

This love made itself known particularly in Jesus’ offering of himself for humanity. In Philippians 2, Paul quotes an early Christian hymn that celebrates how Jesus abandons his “equality with God” and empties himself to become “obedient to the point of death.” This is the mind-set that the Philippians are to take up.

This mind-set will hold the Philippians together in unity and enable them, in a time and place where their faith is peculiar and contested, to endure suffering for Christ as Christ has suffered for them. Such endurance is not all there is to live “worthy of the gospel,” but it is an inescapable part.

Because God’s love is embodied in the poor, outcast, and condemned Messiah, Jesus, those who enjoy affluence, power, and security in a well-established system may hear the “good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18) as a challenge. Those who accept this good news must be prepared to give of themselves for the well-being of others and be prepared for the backlash that may come.

The Philippians share in this privilege of suffering for Christ alongside Paul. The life worthy of the gospel is not restricted to a few; it is for all who have received it in faith.

Christ, who accepted human life and its sufferings on our behalf, grant us faith and courage to bear our share of the gospel life for the good of all those created in the image of God. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 20:1-16

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Lectionary Week
September 14–20, 2020
Scripture Overview

The psalmist recounts many of God’s glorious deeds. The escape from Egypt features prominently, including the Exodus story we are reading this week. God knows that the people need food and provides both meat and bread. Unfortunately, the people do not have the perspective of the psalmist, so God’s miraculous provision does not stop their grumbling. In Philippians, Paul reflects on Christian suffering. Although he would rather be with the Lord, he endures suffering so that he may help others. Other believers should expect to suffer as well. Jesus tells a parable about a landowner. No matter what time the workers go out, they are all equally paid. Likewise, those who follow Jesus their entire lives and those who meet the Lord late in life will partake equally in glory.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Exodus 16:2-15. When have you been confident of God’s love and presence? When have you been uncertain?
Read Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45. When do you smooth over the “bumps” in the stories of your family, your church, or your faith? When is it important to recount the complaining or mistakes along the way?
Read Philippians 1:21-30. When has the “good news to the poor” challenged you? When you feel challenged by it, how do you seek to live “worthy of the gospel”?
Read Matthew 20:1-16. How does Jesus’ idea of equality surprise you? How might a posture of generosity change your concept of fairness?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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