13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
As I sat to prepare this article for the Friday Connection – I took a few minutes to reflect on some of the many changes that have taken place in the course of my lifetime. I’m sure you will have some of your own that could be added as well. My first recollection of a phone line was the party line we shared in our house in St. Cloud, and then we moved to single line extensions. I remember watching Superman as he ducked into a phone booth to change from Clark Kent to his Superman outfit. I remember the large building it took to house the computer when I entered college in 1969 – knowing that the computers in our home are now more powerful than that large 3-story structure. I thought about growing up with phonograph albums, then 8-tracks, then cassettes and later to CDs and now downloadable .mp3 albums that we store and carry on our phones. I remember the 20" black and white TV that the family got around at night to watch the three or four channels it offered, then in 1963 our family got a 30” color TV and now we have TVs that offer a 3D image on 70" - 90” screens and projectors that can be shown on our walls. TV’s used to come in cabinets that were considered furniture, now we place our big screens on the walls of our home. Things have also changed in the church during that same period of time. We used to have UMYF (United Methodist Youth Fellowship) but now most youth don’t even know what that is. We sang out of the Cokesbury hymnal with its brown cover, or the old Methodist Hymnal – now we generally never lift our Hymnal out of the pew rack as the words are on the screen. The same is true for our Bibles – some look up the scriptures on their cell phone while others look to the translation on the screen in the front of the sanctuary. All this got me to thinking about how I respond to Paul’s words in Philippians 3:13 – “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." What is the goal that Paul is referring to in this passage? Is it a goal that we are striving toward in our own lives? Does it even apply to us today? I invite you to join us Sunday as we continue to respond to the question given to us by Jennifer Blessing last week – Responding to God’s Call. How we respond is an important part of our response to God and whose vision are we going to follow. As we open the scriptures to define the goal that God has given to our response, we want to also look at the source of our vision for fulfilling that goal. See you at the Father’s house Sunday.