Scripture:Rejoice in the Lord always; again I, Paul, will say Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
Reflection:In his letter to the Philippians, Paul commands his readers to rejoice in Christ Jesus. In Pauline thought, Jesus’s return is imminent; Paul thinks that he will be alive when Christ returns in glory. Of course, Paul was wrong! However, his expectation of Christ’s imminent return is the context for all of his letters. That is why he tells the Christians at Philippi not to worry about anything; there is nothing to worry about in light of the belief that Christ is coming back soon.
While the Philippians await this great day, they are instructed to present their needs to God in prayers of supplication and in prayers of thanksgiving. Since God already knows what is needed before one asks, once the pray-er voices his or her petitions and thanksgivings, God’s peace, which cannot be totally understood, will stand guard, like a soldier, at a person’s heart and mind. This confidence, this lack of worry because God has everything under control, is what enables the Philippians to rejoice.
What was true for the Philippians remains true today. God already knows what the members of the body of his Son need. A spirituality of mission fosters a confidence that God will provide; therefore, there is no need to worry about anything. The lyrics of Bobby McFerrin’s song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” emphasize Paul’s words to the Philippians using modern examples. McFerrin’s song says that we have some trouble in every life. All we have to do is stop worrying and be happy. If someone steals your bed, rejoice. Worry causes one’s face to frown, and that brings down everyone. So, we should not worry and we should be happy.
Journal/Meditation:About what do you worry the most? How can confidence in God enable you to rejoice instead of worry?
Prayer: God, you know my needs even before I present my supplications to you. Graciously hear this prayer of thanksgiving, and bestow upon me your peace, which guards my heart and mind. I ask this in the name of Christ Jesus, who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.