Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission
Lectionary Reflection
Year A, Proper 26, New Testament Lesson

1 Thessalonians 2: 9-13, 17-20
For you remember our labor and toil, brethren; we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you, while we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our behavior to you believers; for you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.  And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.But since we were bereft of you, brethren, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face; because we wanted to come to you I, Paul, again and again--but Satan hindered us.  For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.

Reflection on 1 Thessalonians 2: 9-13, 17-20
by Nan Stokes

The Christian church owes so much to Paul, who tirelessly traveled and visited the congregations he nourished and cared for as he spread the word of Christ's resurrection throughout the ancient world.  He must have been a powerful, charismatic person, because all who listened to him found their lives changed, and they carried his message faithfully even when he was absent from them.  This letter to the Thessalonians is pastoral and loving and must have reinforced their new belief in the Jesus Christ Paul preached about.  Here he is urging and encouraging them to lead a life worthy of God and thanking God that they had accepted his message as being God's word, not a human word.

In this time of instant communication, it brings us up short to realize that Paul's letters were laboriously written and carried over long distances in the most primitive form of transportation, whether by ship or messenger, to those tiny churches scattered in the mountains and deserts.  Now we must be more aware of our Christian calling to spread the Good News of the Gospel by any or all of the ways of communication that are available to us.  We can begin by talking to our neighbors next door and up and down the street to invite them to worship with us in our congregation be it large or small. Would that we could all have Paul's gift with words!  But we can all have his love for Jesus Christ, and that's a message worth repeating!

Nan Stokes is  an active member of St. Edward the Confessor Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN. She originally wrote this reflection in 1999.  Nan and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to Nan Stokes or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the web site.

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