I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,  always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:2-5)
This passage is especially applicable for Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod congregations during Advent.
So often in the LCMS we focus on congregational autonomy. It seems rare that one LCMS congregation knows what is going on in a neighboring LCMS church. And if we don’t know what’s happening, how likely are we to actually partner together?
Look again at the passage. The Apostle Paul didn’t write this greeting as some platitude. He specifically states, “partnership in the Gospel.”
Immediately, it’s clear that our churches really are in partnership. The central focus of all our churches is Jesus. The Gospel is given to us by Jesus. This is one reason all our churches, in one form or fashion, celebrate Advent. This holy season is about the coming of Jesus. His first coming. His future coming.
Just as the Apostle Paul wrote he remembered the Philippians Christians with joy, so also we can think of sister churches with thanks and gratitude. This season we are together learning of Jesus, honoring Jesus and looking for Jesus’ second coming.
Until next week, the Lord bless and guide.
(These devotions were originally written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS.)