The Guarded Heart
Thank you to all of you all over the world who are viewing this blog and following along. Lent is finished, but I am not finished with Paul. Forty days is not enough time to read and reflect on his letters. There are a few more letters to read. Paul’s wisdom for a lifetime. I trust you will continue with me and spread the word. We could spend a lifetime sifting through letters for all the gems that are there for us to take with us each day. Treasures to support us on our journey. I am thinking these letters should appear first in the New Testament because they were written earlier than the gospels and also because give incite into the life of Jesus. Paul is, as we are now, living and writing after the resurrection. But Jesus’ heart and soul, life and mission shine out from Paul to all of us today.
In his farewell to the Philippians, Paul has some endearing and encouraging words for all of us. He says I want you to be happy, happy in the Lord. Reading the passage that follows this (chapter 4:5-9) I am struck once again of Paul’s affection and care for the first Christians. Paul’s very positive good wishes for his listeners. And I am also struck that the churches as they formed over the past two thousands years failed to teach and preach the God, the Christ Jesus, that wants our happiness and well-being first and foremost.
Scholars and Preachers, take heed. It is not too late to get the message right.
Paul, like God, doesn’t want us to worry. He says if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving and that peace of God…will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
As we go forward on our journey, allowing Paul to accompany us and dialogue with us in his letters, he asks that we remember what he has taught and lived. These are values that will enrich our lives, as we pray for what we need, thanking God for all our blessings. Virtues that grace and guard our hearts, and to continue to be mindful of:
Fill your minds with everything that is true,
everything noble and pure,
everything we love and honor,
those things that are virtuous and worthy of praise.
I would say with Paul, the truest, noblest, most virtuous and worthy of praise is the Christ life that guards, loves and honors us and wants to be kept in our hearts and lives.
P.S. Paul is writing this letter from prison. Which makes his faith, hope and good wishes for his audience even more remarkable.