Scripture: 1 Thess 3:1-13
Key verse: (12) And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.
Reflection: To this Christian community relationships mattered. As they figured out what it means to follow Jesus these relationships gave them support. As they faced suffering the love found in this community would ensure their survival. To be rooted in love and to have that love abound for one another allowed their faith do more than just survive and increase.
A life of faith does not mean that life is without difficulty. The church that Paul was writing to in Thessalonians needed to be reminded of this fact. We need to be reminded of this fact. I am not sure where we get the idea that a life of faith equals happiness. Parents tell children all of the time that if you work hard and be good then you will be happy. In the mind of many people going to church and being faithful are important steps to being good. We jump quickly to the idea that being good equals faithful and faithful means happy. That equation will certainly disappoint and unravel.
The idea that the Christian life is inevitably filled with love and joy and thankfulness and peace is, of course, wrong. And yet there is no hiding the reality, that in this letter, love, thankfulness, joy, and relationship are not only evident, but are central. The text also says to strengthen our hearts in holiness, through earnest prayer.
Paul, the author of this letter, also made that radical claim in 1 Corinthians 13:2 that, without love, we are nothing. Jesus himself, made clear that the only thing that mattered is to love God, and to love one’s neighbor as you loved yourself (Luke 10:27-28). To be rooted in love and to practice love is transformative. This journey of life and faith will bring difficulty and maybe even suffering. The good news is that we will not endure it alone.
Prayer: God, your love is unconditional and persistent. Move me to be transformed by that love so that, whatever I face, I will live for you and my love may abound. This I ask in Christ. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].