I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord … not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through the faithfulness of Christ. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and share his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
This week the lovely nature and sky picture our host Kate provided is both my header and my footer; I believe she usually finds photos on unsplash. Connecting the know prompt with this illustration brought me into flowers, plants, earth, and air. How do we engage them so we can know them? Mainly with our five senses. We smell, touch, see. With veggies and fruits and grains, we taste. (You may have seen edible flowers in the market?) Winds that course through your backyard garden or a neighboring farm make distinctive sounds in different crops.
However, in my focus scripture, the apostle Paul is all about life-giving knowledge.
• I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead … because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
For Paul, the gospel is death and resurrection. My sacramental tradition sometimes calls the sacraments visible words. Baptized into Jesus' death and resurrection that becomes our own first death and second birth, we feel and hear and see the water of life. Especially if we're baptized in one of creation's fonts like a river, lake, or ocean, we can smell the water and even may taste it as it splashes around us. A professor from a nearby university suggested if we're baptized in our local river that's probably a conduit of commerce and culture, why not lay a particular claim to that water by stewarding – quarterly cleanup day, anyone? – and celebrating it—how about a picnic beside the bay?
In the gift of Holy Communion, sometimes we catch the scent of bread baking in the church kitchen. Listen closely as the presider breaks open the loaf and, of course, listen and hear the history of God's people (anamnesis) and a plea for the Holy Spirit come to us and stay with us (epiclesis). We taste and we see how good the Lord is. We are what we eat! Jesus has made us his own. And then? We leave the gathered assembly. We become Jesus' presence so the world will know Jesus, too.
Knowing You, Jesus
All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this
Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You're my all, you're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord
Now my heart's desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness
Graham Kendrick – Copyright 1993 Make Way Music