Philippians 3:12-14 (NRSV)
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
What can be learned from theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer about how to re-orient our lives to follow Christ? Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran minister, imprisoned during World War II for his participation in the resistance movement in opposition to Hitler. Bonhoeffer believed that being a disciple of Christ meant doing his Christian duty to resist against a criminal state. During his two years in prison Bonhoeffer continually asked, “What is Christianity…for us today?” It seems we are asking the same question today as we are confronted by polarizing political positions, war-torn countries, environmental crises, bigger and bigger gaps between the “haves and the have-nots,” increased diagnoses of depression and anxiety, and pervasive loneliness.
Bonhoeffer believed that daily prayer and meditation was essential to the Christian life, and that through prayer we can experience a sense of empathy and solidarity with our neighbors and members of our community. He warned that passive prayer, asking God to act on our behalf, ignores that fact that God works through us in the world. He believed that through prayer we could receive the motivating force that would lead us to act.
At this time of Lent, especially today at the beginning of Holy Week, we are called to “press on toward the goal” of knowing Christ, and to listen to the voice of God as we pray. What are we being called to do? Paul assures us in this passage that we must “press on” as we seek to know God’s purpose for us.
For a discussion of Philippians 3:12-14: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_C33ZhELz4
Dear God, As always be patient with me as I press on toward the goal of knowing Christ. Like Bonhoeffer I will meet you in prayer, seeking to hear your will, your calling for me. What is my purpose? What lessons does Christ have for me during Holy Week? I pray that I will be open to receive them. Amen.