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Now What?

In Paul's concluding greeting to the church in Philippi he blesses them with the main themes he's been teaching throughout the letter. In listening to his blessing we can summarize some of where the Spirit is leading Bread & Wine - toward a greater sense of unity, a richer sense of community and a deeper sense of grace.



The politics of Jesus is a politics of peace. The Good News of the Gospel is that in Jesus God has made peace with the world - but that peace must be worked out in communities mired in conflict. Even in this fairly ideal church disagreements among prominent leaders threatened to divide the community. In this passage Paul speaks about how we, as the church, are charged to keep the peace because we've received a kind of peace that grace empowers us to practice.


Model Citizens

Living out the kingdom of God in a local community, resisting empire and organizing around the love of God revealed in the cross, are all very lofty ideas. Learning what this looks like in practice isn't obvious, which is why the politics of Jesus can never be spelled out in detailed policies, procedures or rules. They must be exemplified in human lives, flesh and blood examples we can see and touch.


Living a Life Worthy of the Gospel

Using the example of Timothy and Epaphroditus, Paul shows the us what it looks like to live in light of the Gospel as individuals and as a community.


Resisting Empire

The command to “not complain” seems a little petty in light of the majestic poem Paul just wrote, marveling in the mysteries of God’s voluntary humiliation for our sake on the cross. But Paul is not just telling the Philippians to be careful about being too picky, he is warning them to be on guard against the forces of empire which threaten to fracture God‘s rule and frustrate his plan of salvation.


The Jesus of Politics

The new political order brought about by Jesus is entered not through revolution, community organizing or elections but by conversion. It’s when we are united with Christ, sharing his mind, that we live according to his way and recognize his lordship. That way is in deep tension with the American way - he died for us instead of pursuing his own life, became a slave for us instead of pursuing his own liberty and refused to use his status as God for his own happiness.


Unity in Opposition

The church is commanded to live as citizens of the Gospel. We know we are living in our true citizenship when we are unified. This unity is both a gift from God and a testament of our salvation that advances the Gospel in the face of outward and inward opposition.


The Possibility of Joy

We tend to think about our emotional reactions to life as automatic and personal rather than something programmed and political. But our reactions to life are shaped, for better or worse, by a social order we participate in. The Gospel creates a social order where joy - even in the face of life-threatening circumstances - is possible in a way that no other political structure can. It does this by teaching us to recognize the meaning of history and redefine our notion of freedom.


Our Greatest Civic Responsibility

Unity is essential to God's plan for the world's salvation, as the church is called to lift Jesus above all his political rivals, for the good of all nations.. We are called to work out what it means to live in the kingdom of God not in theory with fellow conservatives or progressives on social media, but together in our practices as a local church. But how will we ever be united around what policies Jesus wants us to follow in his kingdom when Christians disagree so deeply about how...


Easter – The Politics of Jesus

The letter to the Philippians was written to help Christians living as an oppressed outpost of Roman rule to understand that they are a promised foretaste of the kingdom which would replace all human kingdoms. They are citizens from above, called to live under the rule of King Jesus, whose love would one day conquer every rival power. And this means that the church is neither right nor left. It’s not just another institution of liberal democracy, or even a chaplain God sent to be the...


The People of Atonement

God's work of atonement is what he does to unite the world with himself in love. That work begins in Christ, but it continues in a people. Paul describes this ministry of reconciliation as something the church receives at the very same time they offer it to one another and the world. What that means is that God's at one-ment plan is to create a people who actually perform the atonement they have experienced in Christ.


The Means of Atonement

When many people think of the idea of atonement it strikes them as a superstitious pre-modern idea involving a sacrifice for the appeasement of God’s anger. But the way that God makes us one with himself is different. The biblical language of atonement is the language of love communicated in the logic of self-sacrifice. And the power of it, offered in Jesus, is the potential for a new world.


To Give is Divine

Stephen tackles the topic of giving from Genesis to Revelation and explains how is it fundamental to the Divine nature and the created order.


The Need For Atonement

In order to understand how the suffering and death of Jesus has anything to do with bringing us to God we need to first understand the problem God was trying to solve. In this passage Paul assumes the relevance of the problem is universal, the nature of the problem is relational and the solution to the problem is personal.


Fullness of Time

The fullness of time is the way scripture speaks to god’s eternity being available to us in the present. Through love, we can - at this moment - participate in the peace and bliss of eternity. Through Christ, the present is the ripe moment for us to respond to God and experience the dawning of eternity even in the confusing mists of our times.


Seasonal Time

The finite nature of human beings means that we experience time in a confusing onslaught of seasonal joy and sorrow. In order for our worship to conform our hearts to Christ, it too should be both seasonal (to honor our humanity) and eternal (to reflect the purposes of God). This is the function of Christ-centered worship in the rhythm of the Christian year.


Liturgical Time

In the act of Christian worship God wants to draw history into the bliss of eternity. If we want to anchor our experience of the world in God this means counting time in a way that relates it to God's eternal purposes - and this is the reason for Scripture's use of Sabbath days, fasts, feasts, festivals and the Lord's Day. It's crucial that we learn how to count time and know why time counts.


Prayer and Holy Ground

Spaces become holy ground when the presence of God is recognized and His voice is heard - as the psalm so elegantly explains. This is the purpose of prayer, and the pattern of it is illustrated in the life of Moses. Prayer begins with God speaking, us responding and then God sending us to speak to others. In the process, the world beneath our feet transforms and we find ourselves in sacred space, able to say, with Jesus, that God is now acting and the words of his promise are being fulfilled.


Communion and Social Space

The kingdom of God is manifested primarily in relationships with God and one another, which means that it implies a sociology. The space created by Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness is a table to which all are invited and a meal together is where God provides the grace which makes us family at the same time he proves it by who comes and how we receive one another.