READ : Philippians 2:12-18
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me . . . (v. 12)
There are those who lament that the church is too much like an organization. Perhaps that is true. Though, as someone said, maybe the organization is to the church what the bark is to a tree. Both exist to protect the life that is inside.
Of course, a church is more than its organization, just as a tree is more than its bark. Paul here addresses the church in Philippi as his beloved. This word suggests the lover in Paul. Here there are feelings of tenderness and affection that unite pastor and people in one family: Beloved.
Raymond Carver wrote:
And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.
Every Christian should be able to say these words. As members of the church, we can say that we’ve gotten what everyone most needs from life. We are the beloved of God—and of each other.
This love is the life-blood of the church. The sermon speaks of it, the sacraments show it, the members communicate it to each other. We rejoice in the love God shows us, and we seek to bless one another in love.
We are the beloved.
Dear God, protect and strengthen the bonds of love among us.