“and” (Philippians 1:1 lectio)

July 19, 2010

baton hand off

Photo by .sanden. (license)

Philippians 1:1 Lectio: and. For my first Lectio Divina in a long time, I read no further than three words: “Paul and Timothy.” Curiously, the “shimmering phrase” that beckoned to me was the word “and.”

And. We call these “the letters of Paul.” But look at that! A surprising number of Paul’s letters are addressed from multiple people. This shows how intent he was on discipling.

And. They are a team. They are partners, working together. All the words we have, plus the prayers and conversations we don’t have… they were shared, and birthed out of their partnership.

And. They were friends. But it’s a friendship deeper than “liking each other,” or what churches call “community.” This is communitas, the bonds of shared endurance. …Oh Mike, how I miss you.

And. Paul is not only training Timothy by writing this with him; he is also releasing him as a leader by establishing him as an equal. But this is not a hierarchical hand-off of bureaucratic authority. It is a community of faith (Paul and Timothy), speaking to other communities of faith (the believers in Philippi). Life imparting life.

Paul and Timothy. A truly healthy spiritual life takes place only when one is being discipled, and has disciple. I haven’t had either a Paul or a Timothy in my life for many years now, and it shows. ++Lord, send me a Paul. Send me a Timothy.++

Jon and Kay. I misunderstood Kay’s lack of connection with the things that energize me as a rejection of those things. But I have spent the last few years learning that that’s not true at all. We’re just different people. Our differences have made as a team before, dancing, leaning on each other’s strengths. ++Thank you that you have united us again. Will you also use us again?++

Jesus and Jon. I in you and you in me. ++Come fill me. Let’s dance.++

Update: Dave Ingland has blogged the thoughts I stirred with this meditation.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

8 responses to “and” (Philippians 1:1 lectio)

  1. Thanks for this, Jon. I was especially struck by what you wrote about Paul AND Timothy—it reminded me of something I learned from Steve Elzinga (http://www.pathwayministries.net/PastorSteve): Jesus’ disciples make disciples. That is, if the goal of a disciple is to become more and more like his master, what is it that will show we are disciples of Jesus? We’ll be making disciples, seeking and saving the lost, loving one another. If we aren’t BEING discipled, and if we aren’t DISCIPLING, have we really understood His message? Are we really His disciples? Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Great post, can’t say the word “and” has ever jumped out at me. I love how the Holy Spirit does that. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow, this has given me reason to pause and consider the same things within my own life. Thank you Jon for sharing this!

  4. Melanie, thanks for your comment and challenging questions!
    Life begets life. I think one of the reasons discipling has waned is that there has been an over-emphasis on information transferral. I hope that disciples in postmodern contexts can rediscover the way of life transferral — Christ’s life in us.

  5. Helen, I find it rather amusing that it was the lowly word “and” that got me. I think it shows the power of Lectio Divina for meditation. “Like a box of chocolates”?

  6. Dave, glad this was helpful. Of course, now I’m curious what you are pausing and considering. If and when it’s appropriate to share, I hope you’ll blog about it.

  7. Jon,
    I’m very familiar with those debilitating dry seasons. Unless a void is filled with more than just “filler”, it becomes a vacuum, emptying us instead. Thankfully, Christ the All in all is able to fill that void with Himself.
    For me, part of being brought under the discipline of Christ involves relating to Him on the various levels of His ministry on our behalf.
    Personally, even before implementing Lectio Divina, I often find it necessary to avail myself of Christ’s ministry as great high priest, Who dispenses mercy and grace to divinely assist me in entering into God’s rest for His people (Hebrews 4:9-16)
    With nothing more than a sheer naked intent, I quietly draw near, turning inward away from myself unto Him. Then, the scriptures, in conjunction with my spirit, form a bridge, ushering me into the presence of the Lord. Those times of refreshing can’t even be explained; they can only be experienced within the deep, pure center of our being. The lack of such transforming experiences can be very discouraging to any believer. What’s the alternative? The paralysis of analysis.
    It’s when we stop trying that we start trusting. It’s when we stop working that we start resting. It’s when we find God’s rest in Christ within us that He is allowed to work in, through and for us.
    Stay blessed and in Him.

  8. Julio, thank you so much. I have often wrestled with acting vs. resting. Your meditative words beckon me to a place I know…