The Communion of Saints

Read: Philippians 4:21-23

All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. (v. 22)

On Thanksgiving Day, Christians gather in churches to thank God for their freedoms, including the freedom to worship. It’s something believers in the United States and Canada often take for granted. But even as you prepare to celebrate this holiday, it’s important to remember that you belong to a greater community: the global church.

Paul sends greetings to the Philippians from the saints in Caesar’s household. Being a Christian in Caesar’s household must have been dangerous; after all, Caesar required that he be worshiped as a god. Paul’s words remind the Philippians, and us, of the greater Christian community—that there are Christians faithfully witnessing in difficult and dangerous places across the world. As you worship, think of the church in places like Iran. Remembering the global church can give us many reasons to be joyful and can encourage us to continue in our faith.

The communion of the saints extends both around the world and back through time. When you picture your Thanksgiving table, imagine the cloud of witnesses joining you in praise and thanksgiving to God. You are part of a great and grand assembly of believers, some of whom have given their lives because they proclaimed Jesus as Lord. When you sing, picture the chorus of voices—some raised from prison cells, refugee camps, and hospital beds—joining in praise to the Father, Son, and Spirit.

As you pray, remember those facing persecution. Thank God for their witness, and for your freedom to worship openly.

About the Author

Jane Olson is a college counselor and high school teacher. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and children.

This entry is part 15 of 15 in the series Habits of a Thankful Heart