For your work comes from faith,
Your effort comes from love,
Your perseverance comes from hope:
For you are loved by God.” (1 Thess.1)
Words of Encouragement
This is a loose translation of the message Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. Theirs was a church facing persecution and other great challenges. Paul heard about their plight but was not able to go and console them face to face. So, he wrote this letter as a way to encourage and commend this little church for their faithfulness during troubled times. A little kindness and help can change things. The Thessalonians grew as disciples and are still shining examples for disciples of Christ.
Over the past year this congregation has prayerfully addressed several challenges. We have been challenged to return to the heart of our faith and the things that matter most to this community. Until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, we will primarily gather through live stream and the radio air waves for worship, classes and meetings. Once it is safe to physically gather, we will still likely offer these options. The Thessalonians understood the need to be committed to Christ and put effort into their discipleship so their collective faith would persevere. It’s important for each one of us to look for and point out sightings of God’s grace at work here so that others can see them too. And a reward awaits those who take time to invest in and grow the Christian friendships we have with each other. Christian discipleship is the responsibility of everyone. .
I’m reminded of a letter from the 3rd Century written by St. Cyprian to his good friend, Donatus. He was the Bishop of Antioch. As he looked out over the city he wrote: “This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from this fair garden under the shadow of these vines. But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see; brigands on the high road, pirates on the seas, in the amphitheater’s men murdered to please the applauding crowds, under all the roofs misery and selfishness. It really is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. Yet, in the midst of it, I have found a quiet and holy people. They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of this sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians. and I am one of them.” (Gordon MacDonald, FORGIVING, A REAL WORLD FAITH.)
Prayer: “Dear God, Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to be a quiet and holy people, He urged them to work with their hands for the common good of all and to walk along your path. Help us to be faithful, honest, decent and courageously kind. In all of our ways we seek to build up your church and to honor you. Amen.”
Rev. Carol A. Kress