Read Philippians 1:12-18a.
I watched the Great British Baking Show while cleaning my house, and I got progressively faster at cleaning as the contestants neared the end of their challenges while the violins and tempo of the background music quickened. Time pressure moves us forward to get stuff done, but it also can blind us to everything else around us. When Paul talks about being imprisoned, I feel like our new prison is not bars, but is time. Deadlines loom. Exams come around every year. The tiredness of college students can be plotted on a graph with almost eerie accuracy. It seems like we are in a cage of the pressure of time where the end of the semester is a freeing moment, released from our bondage for a few months only to go back into the cage again, with ever-quickening violins.
However, even while in prison, Paul could see beyond the bars. He connected with the guards and with his siblings in Christ. So, I wonder what it could mean to look beyond the prison bars, even if it’s a prison of our own making. What could it mean to look past the cage of busy-ness and to learn to live as Paul exhorts us: in Christ, with our siblings, and seeing the Jesus in all people we meet. As we prepare for Christ’s coming, may we wonder what it looks like to live in this world slowly, and see beyond the limits.
God, you came to earth to set the prisoners free. Set us free today. May we see glimpses of you in all we encounter. Amen.
Rev. Krystal Leedy
Associate Pastor for Campus Ministries
UKirk Austin at University Presbyterian Church