Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Philippians 1:12-30

I don't think any of us can really comprehend the life of St. Paul. He grew up in Tarsus, which is located in modern day Turkey. He was sent to Jerusalem as a young man to study with the best and brightest scholars of his day. He grew to become a Pharisee - an expert in Judaic law. He persecuted Christians and was present at the martyrdom of Stephen. He has an incredible conversion experience on the road to Damascus that completely changes his life forever and he becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ.

From then on he travels throughout the Mediterranian as a tentmaker and teacher establishing churches everywhere he goes. He is often arrested, beaten and imprisoned for his teaching. What is astonishing, is he never lets those trials deter him from spreading the gospel of Christ. Come what may, he doesn't ever change his message, he is never silent, he just keeps going.

I'm not sure I'd have that in me. If I were arrested beaten and facing death, I don't know how I'd handle it. So often in my life there are those with whom I don't agree and vice versa. It is easiest to just not discuss religion (or politics) or anything that could be construed as contraversial. It's easiest to let things go and not get into it.

I wonder what would be different in the world if Christians were more like Paul? Not in an overbearing, pushy sort of way, but just a calm, cool, proclamation of the gospel in every aspect of our lives, regardless of what people might think about it. What would happen?

Paul seemed convinced in today's reading that his very imprisonment and persecution was aiding the spread of the gospel. If we looked at the world the way Paul did and used our lives and valued them in the way Paul did - that we have been given life in order to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus in all we do - the world might, indeed, be a better place.

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