December 6, 2012

A place of love and support

By Emily Trapp, a senior music and communication double major from Canby, Ore.
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 1:3-11 (NRSV)

Paul wrote the book of Philippians during his second journey to Philippi, where he found an invaluable environment of love and support in comparison to the other places he is known to travel to within Scripture. Unlike many of Paul’s letters, his address to the church of Philippi is full of thanksgiving and gratitude. For him, Philippi was clearly a place of comfort, joy and stability, similar to how I feel about the greater community of Goshen.

When I first read this verse, it reminded me of the many things I wish I could publicly announce in indebtedness to this place and these people who have impacted me in powerful ways as well. But most importantly, Paul’s emphasis on the importance of loving one another with more depth and understanding than that of yesterday is something we should convict ourselves to in the same sort of acknowledgment. When I reflect on the love I have experienced while being a student at Goshen College, I am overwhelmed, yet heartbroken for those who have not been shown a similar model of Christ’s love all over the globe. I cannot help but question if I, as a global citizen and passionate learner, am helping spread the equal, unconditional love that Paul encouraged of the church of Philippi in this letter. If not, how can I use my gifts to do so? If yes, how can I do more of it?

I would encourage each of you to go out on a limb today and remind somebody that you support them in a way that you have neglected to communicate to them lately. As Paul promises, you will be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.” Amen.

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 1:3-11 (NRSV)
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.



Comments (10)

  1. What a wonderful challenge for me to go out today and share God’s love with someone who may not experience it any other way.

    Mary December 6, 2012 |
  2. Emily, I love how you describe Goshen as an “invaluable environment of love and support.” Goshen truly is a gift. When I visited GC last year (and met you), I felt gratitude that small group housing still had that special community feeling that it did when I was in college. Also, thank you for the challenge. I will walk in to my school today with new eyes, looking for opportunity.

    Lisa Roth Walter December 6, 2012 |
  3. I would love to print this for our church bulletin board!

    Patricia MacGregor December 6, 2012 |
  4. For those of us who found a ‘loving home’ in our college experience, your beautifully written devotional resonates strongly. The voices of so many godly men and women who mentor us during these important years can be heard in our heads and demonstrated in our hearts for decades to come. God bless you, Emily, for this beautiful reminder to be grateful for those people of God!

    DeeDee Barnes Bruns December 6, 2012 |
  5. Emily — What a wonderful affirmation of community life at Goshen College. When I was a student there over 20 years ago, I felt the same way! I am glad to hear it is the same today. To share what we have learned about Jesus’ (& the Christian Community’s) love is imperative and a key part of the gospel. We are all called to live in a way that shows this compassion & support wherever we are. Thanks for your reminder!

    Jill Koop Liechty December 6, 2012 |
  6. Dear Emily. It is hard being a senior. Past and present (and future too!) conflict. You are about to go into the world. What a challenge! I too had the same experience (many, many years ago!) at a Catholic College (Fordham). Same thing. Community among both students and faculty. Affirmation of faith. Expressed in so many different ways. You will always carry Goshen with you; as I have Fordham. So fear not. Pass it on!

    Debbie Lackowitz December 6, 2012 |
  7. Emily, Thanks for the devotional and the positive words about your GC and I hope the larger Goshen community. We don’t always hear from those who “testify” in a good way. Thanks!

    Ora December 6, 2012 |
  8. Emily I’m so glad to see you are doing well at Goshen. I remember well your search for a school to attend when you were in High school. I am pleased to see that Goshen is a good fit for you. I know you are doing well with your music study and will be looking forward to your teaching others someday in some way. It is a great gift you have been given. I know you will use it with all the energy I remember so well.

    Tom Gingerich December 6, 2012 |
  9. Emily I am sure you have made Goshen a great place for
    Gods People and helped draw others to Him!!!

    Bob December 6, 2012 |
  10. Emily, I resonate with Paul’s words, “I thank God everytime I remember of you.” In your life here at GC, you have consistantly spread the “unconditional love of God” in your wake. The world is a better place for it. With much gratitude, Jim.

    Jim Brenneman, GC President December 10, 2012 |