"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Sometimes verses like this seem meaningful, and yet hard to grasp. I found myself yesterday inserting the word "joy" for Christ. I don't think this is irreverent, as Christ comes to give us joy. Perhaps one could also substitute the word "love," another word that Christ embodies.
For to me to live is joy, and to die means even more joy.
For to me to live is love, and to die means even more love.
Playing with the text this way opens it up to more questions, or steps forward. To live in joy might mean that I have to start dancing. (Yesterday I had a distinct sense that my body needs to join my mind for me to experience joy most fully.) To live in love means that my heart continues to expand, that who and what I love continues to broaden, that I grow in my capacity to give, to receive and to creatively companion.
Paul sought to grab onto all that Jesus came to give. His motto is an expression of that commitment, a guiding statement that's worth sharing. It's also a good Monday mantra.