Pastor John Writes:
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Near the end of the Letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul provides some “last words” and final reminders to his beloved readers. While he is endearing and reassuring, he also provides some straight talk and clear directives. We are hearing Paul the father, pastor, and teacher giving words of lasting advice. He also advocates for Christians to stop their endless complaining and to get along, to stop being so concerned about the things that divide them and to be more concerned about the things that unite them.
During the past fourteen months, we’ve dealt with the effects of a pandemic as a church, as a community, as a nation, and on a global scale. While Covid-19 has brought grief, hardship, and challenges which have been devastatingly real, many people have recognized that this period has helped us evaluate our lives and focus on what’s truly important.
I’ve heard of many people who have gained a new appreciation for family, for neighbors, for friends, and other loved ones. Some have reconnected with family and friends who have been distant. Others have been able to find deeper meaning in their work and in their relationships, and have learned to find a deeper appreciation for the simple, everyday gifts of life they might have been neglecting. Challenging experiences often lead us to do things differently, and as a church, Friedland has grown in its ability to broadcast worship services and hold online meetings. Many families and businesses have learned to embrace technology like never before.
How have we changed over the past fourteen months? Have we changed for the better? Although we have faced a difficult situation, perhaps we have learned to focus on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, and whatever is commendable. May we keep the advice of the Apostle Paul in mind as we continue to meet life’s challenges and continue our work in faith, hope, and love.