Reflections on the Lectionary: Philippians 4:4-7: Relief of Guilt
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Reflections on the Lectionary: Philippians 4:4-7: Relief of Guilt

This passage reads: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The faith of Christ encourages trust in God’s concern and goodness. Yet we know that suffering and death are parts of life, and many decent people have terrible fortune. This passage reminds us that having faith quells anxiety and grants believers “the peace of God.” Our prayers might not be answered in the sense that we get what we desire, but by a mysterious process “which passes all understanding” we can gain a sense of inner peace and “keep [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus.”
 This is reassuring to those who are suffering or who perceive a bleak future. Many such people have doubts about God’s goodness or even about God’s existence. I think this passage teaches that we don’t need certainty about God or the nature of God. When faith inspires God-centered actions, such as prayer or helping others, those actions help heal our wounds and give a sense of inner peace. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30).

Go on to: Reflection on the Lectionary: Luke 2:41-52
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

Return to Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion