Worship Companion – May 2 2021

We’re in week two of our series on Philippians and our theme is hope.

George Fredrick Watts – “Hope” – 1886

Paul faced some bleak circumstances, but he never gave up hope. In Philippians 1:20 he’s clear that he has an eager expectation and hope for what God will do. This famous painting of “Hope” symbolized hope as a blindfolded woman sitting on the globe, playing a lyre with only once string left and a single star is the only light far off in the distance. What does this painting say to you about “hope”? How does this painting get hope, according to Paul, right, and what is it missing?
Ponder, and then we’ll keep going.
Anchor Texts:
Paul loved the Philippians and encouraged them to love one another in times of incredible difficulty. The above passage from Philippians could be summed in this way: Paul is saying – “Yes, things aren’t ideal —  but! — look at how God is using these tough times to spread the gospel, see how we need each other, and see how Christ is glorified in our suffering for Him.” Paul isn’t hopeless about his situation, He’s a realist – and a realist who knows Jesus is very different from a worldly realist! From the worst situations, we can boast in Christ, as Paul has learned to do. Whether we live or die in the present age, we can be confident that Christ’s will save us and His plan to bring His Kingdom will not fail.
The Theme in Song:
We’ve encountered this song before, but I think it fits so well with the confident hope of salvation that Paul expresses in our passage today. It’s not mere “optimism,” Paul knows what awaits him is “life” or “death” from a Roman court, but Paul says “Yes I Will” (so to speak) in light of either outcome!

The Theme in Art:
Here we find Paul sitting in his prison cell. Rembrandt again is supplying our minds with a complex image: from Paul’s expression, clothing, lighting, and objects that feature in the picture, we must think of all the symbols coming together which help us understand the various meanings of Paul’s imprisonment. In fact, Paul himself is pondering these meanings in our passage from Philippians today.

“St. Paul in Prison” – Rembrandt – 1627 – Oil on Panel

The Theme for Kids:
While we talked about Acts 16 last week, this video  is worth sharing this week for two reasons. First, its a great story about how God worked with Paul and Silas in Philippi long before Paul wrote the Letter the the Philippians, and second, it illustrates our point from today very well – that God can do amazing things through bleak situations!


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