Each year as we approach National Day, the Church in Singapore sets aside 40 days to seek the Lord and to pray for our nation. The theme for this year - “To live is Christ”- is taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. If Paul had a favourite church, it would be the Church in Philippi. While the Corinthians gave him the most trouble and the Galatians exasperated him, the Philippians gave him the most joy. “In all my prayers for all of you I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now,” Paul professed fondly in his letter (Philippians 1:4-5). He held them dearly in his heart because they were partakers together of God’s grace both in Paul’s imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel (v7). The Philippians were the only one who supported Paul in his mission work for a while, and when he was in need in Thessalonica, the Philippians sent him aid more than once (4:15-16). When they subsequently found out about Paul’s imprisonment, they sent Epaphroditus to search him out in order to provide and care for him. Their friendship developed and strengthened as they experienced the reality of God’s grace in their joint-labour for the gospel.
In a generation where relationships are increasingly transactional, may this special bond between Paul and the Philippians be true of us. Let us pray that COR will be a community in which we experience the grace of God in and through one another. That requires a willingness to be present and vulnerable as we participate in our common life in the church. And let us pray that this grace we receive may overflow to those outside the church, as we join our hearts and our hands to labour for the Gospel.
Rev. David Lee