For months, here in BC, we have heard Dr. Bonnie Henry say, “Be calm. Be kind. Stay safe.” In our passage today, Paul sounds a bit like her, “No matter what your circumstance, live in harmony, be full of joy, be reasonable and gentle, don’t be anxious, be at peace, contemplate the best virtues in life and practice them.”
We may wonder whether Paul’s counsel is relevant for us today. Where is Paul sitting when he writes these verses? He’s in a Roman jail cell. His life is in the balance: he may live or he may die. It’s an uncertain time. Some who call themselves Christians, are adding even more to his suffering. A Jewish sect is influencing the church he planted in Philippi, telling the new disciples they need to become Jews if they want to follow Jesus. The church family in Philippi is threatened with division. Did he have any reason to complain, to make some malicious comments or to be anxious?