Devotion - October 17, 2020

1 Thessalonians 1:1–10

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace. We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming. Reflection by Janet Derby I retired this month after 25 years with the Fulton County school system. As with everything else this year, it was a little odd. I worked remotely my last official week of work and my retirement party with my team was done on Zoom, so there are aspects of the whole process that don’t seem real.

We are experiencing some of that with remote worship. As we begin to consider the stewardship season we are in and what worship during the Advent and Christmas season will be like, it feels even more strange. It occurred to me as I considered this passage that Paul certainly understood remote communities. How much more difficult must it have been to not only be apart from his churches but to only be able to rely on letters to and from them or stories passed through travelers. Yet those communities thrived and were able to pass their faith and the good news of the gospel to the many generations of Christians who have followed them. Surely, if they were able to do that, so can we. Prayer:

God of Grace and Peace, thank you for the technology that allows us to remain a community in the midst of physical separation. Help us to look to the early Christians for hope and encouragement as we navigate this time. Amen.

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