Paul, in this letter to the Thessalonians, expresses his love and care for the people. He expresses admiration for their faithfulness to the gospel amid adversity. Paul was forced to flee from Thessalonica, being accused of false teaching by leaders of the synagogue. The members of this new faith community were “Godfearers”—non-Jews who worshiped with Jews in their synagogue. Paul’s letter told them he missed them and loved them deeply. He prays that the Lord Jesus “make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.” He also urged them to grow in faith: “May [the Lord] so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”
The theme of LOVE works its way once again into our reading. Yesterday’s devotion underscored the O in LOVE, that is, the Order or reign of God that Jesus inaugurated with his presence on earth. Today’s reading highlights how Jesus is seen as the L in our acronym: its Leader, the one who increases love, the one who strengthens hearts for holiness. As we continue our preparation for Advent and the coming again of Jesus, let us give thanks for the great love of God in and through Jesus that sustains our faith communities and urges each of us on to maturity in our faith.
We haven’t forgotten the last two letters of our LOVE acronym. We will turn to them tomorrow and Sunday. We are mindful from today’s reading that the anticipated “coming of the Lord with all his saints” was not a fearful looking to the future. It was filled with a message of love for members of the household of God.
Lord Jesus, lead us to a greater, more mature understanding of your way. Amen.
As we prepare our hearts for Advent, the celebration of Jesus’ first coming, we remember in Jeremiah that the birth of Jesus has a deep background, a background rooted in God’s promise to David. Psalm 25, traditionally credited to David, speaks of God’s faithfulness to those who follow the paths of the Lord. David asks God to teach him to follow God’s paths even more closely. The New Testament readings actually point us toward Jesus’ second coming. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to excel in holiness and love while they wait. In Luke, Jesus discusses the coming of the kingdom in a passage that some find confusing. We note that he focuses not on the exact time frame of the arrival of the kingdom but on our need to be alert
Read Jeremiah 33:14-16. How have you experienced the promises of God in your life?
Read Psalm 25:1-10. How has the Lord taught you and led you in the path of your life?
Read 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13. Is there a faith community for which you pray in joy? How else do you express your gratitude for that community?
Read Luke 21:25-36. How are you approaching Advent this year? What will you do to prepare your heart?
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