“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.” (Philippians 1:3-7) Last week we considered the importance of never forgetting that we live between the two advents. In some quarters of the church, there is actually a tradition of three advents: the first one in which we are redeemed, a second one in which we are being sanctified, and finally the third and final one in which we shall be glorified. Confused? Let me try to explain. There can be no doubt, the church has always affirmed that even as Christ came the first time (the Incarnation which we celebrate at Christmas), he shall come again to close history as we know it. But in between the times, Christ of course does not leave us alone. We continue to be in his presence even as he is away through the power of the Holy Spirit. Of course, this same Spirit is transforming or sanctifying us in preparation for our final glorification. That is what Paul is referencing here when he speaks of the completion of the good work. I especially like the way Paul speaks of it to the Philippian Christians because he focuses on the communal nature of it. They “share in the gospel” together. They hold one another in their hearts and they share in God’s grace. In other words, perhaps we best anticipate the return of Jesus Christ when we focus on his present transforming work that is going on today. All praise to the one who came, is coming today in our gathered communities and shall one day come in all power. Have a great week!