painting a picture of love
1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you,
1:4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you,
1:5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.
1:6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
1:7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
1:8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.
1:9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight
1:10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless,
1:11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
As we prepare for the second Sunday of Advent, I came across this quote from Allen Hilton who connects this week’s passage from Malachi with today’s reading in Philippians:
On this second Sunday of Advent, as Malachi shouts from the mountaintop his prophecy that God is a refining fire, Paul whispers from prison his prayer that God will help Philipppian Christians to become pure and blameless. But his depiction of these two virtues is hardly about avoidance of impurity. Rather, Paul begins in his prayer to paint a picture of active love itself, the starting point toward purity and blamelessness and the catalyst for unified community. These prayed hopes are not confined to antiquity, of course. Paul would desire them for us too, and so they reverberate through the two intervening millennia and whispers into our own twenty-first century lives and churches.
As we allow the four lectionary passages to intersect this week, we find active love at the heart of them. God actively loving us, not in a transactional sort of way, but in a transforming, sacrificial way. Advent invites us to explore this active love and challenges us to be participants in His incarnation.
For all those people who bring light into my life, I am grateful this day. Amen
What would a picture of active love look like if you painted it? Take out our crayons or pens and try drawing it.
I wonder what it would look like to paint a picture of love by intentionally doing a good deed each day. Maybe that painting would be something that Paul & Malachi intended.