Deep Community

I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill.
Philippians 2:25-26

There have been seasons of my life as a Christian in which I was deeply connected and supported by brothers and sisters in the work of the gospel. I think back to my youth group in middle school and our missions trips to San Francisco for a week of service, worship, and sharing our faith. Similar times shaped my life in high school, college, seminary, and in my life since seminary.

While everyone doesn’t have the same experiences I have, my experience is not unique.

In this short passage in Philippians we see many layers of care and connection in the Christian community. The Philippians had sent Epaphroditus to help care for Paul’s needs. Paul expresses affection and great appreciation for the dedication and ministry of Epaphroditus and we read previously about his connection and love for Timothy(2:19-24). Paul also shares Epaphroditus’s concern for the Philippians. They had heard he was ill and were worried. Now Paul encourages them with the letter as well as through the presence of Epaphroditus who has returned to good health.

Of course intimate layers of connection and community are a marker of the human species generally, but notice how Paul describes Epaphroditus. He is a brother, a fellow worker, a fellow soldier, messenger, and minster. It is the deep community we share with one another because of what we share in the gospel that sets us apart. This is what the Philippians shared with Paul and this is what we share with one another.

Let’s pray for this type of deep affection and community to be at work in our church as we serve and share the gospel in all the places we live and have influence. I look forward to growing with you all in this high calling and privilege.

There is no greater or deeper connection than the gospel of Jesus. We thank you that because of the grace offered through the cross, we truly are brothers and sisters in the cause of your Kingdom. This cause unites us in love and drives us to sacrificially care for one another. Give us this heart Lord, and help us to serve each other in this beautiful way, for the glory of Christ, Amen

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