|October 6, 2020|
“Paul and Timothy, Servants of Christ Jesus,To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deaconsGrace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Common lectionary readings this fall included reading through the letter to the Philippians. So, for the rest of the week, I will reflect on this 2,000 year old letter. Shirley and I have letters that we wrote to each other 40 years ago. I have a few postcards from the early 20th century. I read an odd book from over 100 years ago. This year I have read four books by Ernest Hemingway. They are about 100 years old. All these items are from our past history, and to understand them, we need the context of the time. For example, our letters( to each other ) from forty years ago, meant no cell phones, no computers and no social media. How did we survive ?!
Paul could only communicate by letter, through other people or in person. Letters took a long time to write, to send and to read aloud. In the congregation at Philippi, there would have only been a handful of people that were able to read Greek. As a regular person in the community, you would have to listen really well to the words spoken and read. Maybe the letters were read more than once. There would have been great excitement to hear that a letter had come from Paul. We have no original copies of any of the biblical books/letters.
This letter is from both Paul and Timothy. They were ministers together. They were servants of God, to the church and to each other. The letter begins with a thankfulness to the ” holy” people. The church/Jesus community is only 30 years old, and they already have a structure, deacons and overseers. It seems biblical to have committees and a slate of officers !
And finally a greeting to both Greek and Jewish people. “Grace” for the Greeks and “Peace” for the Jewish people. Timothy and Paul have said who they are, servants, and who they are writing to, the holy deacons and overseers, and they greet everyone, so everyone will feel included. What a great way to start a letter to the faithful. Thanks be to Timothy and Paul.
Thank you for Timothy and Paul, and their faithful letter to the faithful at Philippi.