Scripture: 1 Thess. 5:12–28
Key verses: (12-28) But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.
23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
25 Beloved, pray for us.
26 Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. 27 I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all of them.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Reflection: There will be NO Kissing in church anytime soon. I would settle for a high-five right now wouldn’t you? I know this is not exactly what Paul is writing about but he is writing to his friends who were seeking ways to be the church.
They had grown strong during some really hard times. Even in the face of such fierce darkness, Paul wrote about his admiration for the church, their faith and hospitality. In the midst of hard times, this community of believers continued to care for one another and that was critical.
These words from Paul remind us of the essence of Christian living. Being grateful and joining together in worship. An openness to God’s calling to serve our neighbor. Living in love.
Paul’s words could not be more relevant for today. Listen to them and let us live them. Be open to God and pray always. Be honest, but live with hope. And thank God for all we have.
We know the practice of gratitude to God helps us stay grounded. Practice it daily.
Love the ones you are with and ask if they are getting what they need from you. Join together in worship in all the ways you can. Be the church.
We are a church that is growing strong during these hard times. We are serving the most vulnerable at Urban Ministry Center with bag lunches. Worshiping every morning at 8 a.m., even if it is just for a few minutes. Deacons calling on members of the church to just check-in. Gathering on Sunday at 8:45, even when we would prefer to sleep in, just so we can greet our faith family online. Youth group laughing together just like they do every Sunday night, except it is now online and they are listening to each other. We are growing stronger together. We pass the peace of Christ with such intensity that there is something holy in that moment.
Let us continue to be this church.
Prayer: God, guide us as we seek to follow. 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].