An Unchained Melody (15-05-20)
A Bible Reading: Philippians 1:12-14
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
These verses were written by St Paul, from a prison cell in Rome where he was locked away for preaching the Christian gospel, to the church in Philippi where he had also spent time in prison, also for preaching the gospel (see Acts 16).
For Paul, it seems, the chains of prison which bound him physically were not chains to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Within the prison cell in Rome he found the freedom to continue preaching the gospel and encouraging the Christians in Rome ‘to proclaim the gospel without fear’. In the prison in Philippi he had also found the freedom to worship God and to pray.
I wrote on Wednesday about the freedom that Jesus brings us from the spiritual and emotional chains of sin and past hurts. Paul went beyond this and found an inner freedom despite the physical chains that bound him.
When Ghandi was in prison he was quoted as saying “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”
Within the prison cells of our own lockdown, may we discover a deeper inner freedom that has previously been hidden by the busyness of life, but that is unfettered by the threat of Covid-19.
May we also discover that our minds and our spirits are still free to worship God, to pray, and to tell others the good news of Jesus. Like Paul, may we discover that our chains have ‘actually served to advance the gospel’ as many people today are more open to hear the good news of Jesus than they have ever been before.
Almighty God, in these times of lockdown and social isolation, help me to discover a deeper freedom in my soul and in my spirit where I might worship you for who you are, pray in faith for those who are in need and share with confidence the good news of Jesus.
Freedom is coming!