By Michael Smith
A Reading from Philippians 1:1-11
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 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.
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. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.
9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
Paul gives thanks for the work God is doing in and through the local Christians in today’s first installment of the letter to the Philippians. Today is also the civic holiday of Labor Day in the U.S. Historically, it is a day set aside to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of workers.
This year, I am particularly mindful of those who work for the common good: health care workers fighting our common enemy, COVID-19; armed forces and others who have labored in Afghanistan to secure peace and promote justice, especially those in danger of being left behind; electrical line workers repairing and restoring power to Hurricane Ida-ravaged parts of the country; teachers who toil under extraordinary circumstances to educate our children. Who should be added to this list?
There is a collect in our night service of Compline which prays in part that “we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil” (BCP 134). God is not finished with us. May the one who has begun a good work in them and us bring it to completion.
Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for fifteen years and is currently the Assistant Bishop of Dallas. He works with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative and is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Oklahoma
The Diocese of Embu (Anglican Church of Kenya)