Scripture often inspires songs. And singing praise to God, it has been noted, is a form of prayer. Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi contains many wonderful thoughts, and many of those verses have inspired hymns.
The two most recent Presbyterian hymnals have noted the connection between verses from the first chapter of Philippians and 16 different hymns.
In chapter 1, verses 3-11, Paul thanks the Christians in Philippi for sharing ministry with him:
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 defense 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 in 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. Philippians 1:3-11
This resounding theme of partnership between Christians in shared ministry may have been part of the inspiration for Jane Parker Huber, an American hymn writer, to pen the words to her 1981 hymn “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service.”
The first verse reads:
Called as partners in Christ’s service,
Called to ministries of grace,
We respond with deep commitment
Fresh new lines of faith to trace.
May we learn the art of sharing,
Side by side and friend with friend,
Equal partners in our caring To fulfill God’s chosen end.
As we think about those who share God’s work with us in our families, our church, our world, we can be thankful for the grace found in Christian partnership.
Use me, dear Lord, to work alongside Your other children to share Your love and touch people for Your kingdom, in and through our Lord and Savior, Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.