1 Thessalonians: The Call
Monday, November 7, 2016
A Favorite from April 22, 2009.
This is likely the first letter of the New Testament canon to be written around the year 50. It is appropriate to spend time with this letter at this time of the year as it is flush with the exuberance of the early church and rather than address the profound theological concepts we find in later letters, Paul addresses the characteristics exhibited by the early Christians. He writes especially about the joy and gratitude which these early people experienced as they waited for Christ’s return – – – which they thought was imminent. What changes would we make in our lives if we lived as if we understood this concept of return and accounting? How would this change our stewardship of the gifts we have been given?
The Biblia de América points out that this is a pastoral letter more than anything else and it is modest in its length and tone. Paul’s’ themes are the mission, development and consolidation of the Church, the Trinitarian nature of the ordinary life, the mystery of evil, and the importance of salvation. In order to put this letter into some context, we might read about his stay in Thessalonica in Acts 17 as part of his second missionary journey. The city was a strategically situated port with trade to other parts of the Mediterranean.
Paul exhorts the faithful to refrain from sexual immorality if they are to live a Christian life. He encourages mutual charity if they are to exhibit Christian love. He inspires prayers for those who have already died and who are resurrected in Christ Jesus if they are to live in Christian hope. He urges that the faithful remain faithful, even in the face of so many pressures which call them away from the Trinity. We might heed his words today for we struggle with the same issues in the same way. We have not come too far from where the early Christians stood.
Paul calls us to consolidation with those who live in Christ.
Paul calls us to love our enemy.
Paul calls us to be good stewards.
Paul calls us to remain strong against the negative influences of the times.
Paul calls us to Christ.
Let us spend a bit of time today reflecting on the call we feel to be faithful, hopeful, and loving in Christ’s body and resurrection. What do our actions say about who we are . . . and what we believe?
LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.
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