Love in the midst of struggle…

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2 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy: To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring. 

Here the apostle Paul begins his second letter to the Thessalonian church. What strikes me today is Paul’s affirmation of “the love of everyone of you for one another”… as well as “for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring”. It’s pretty obvious things have been rough for the Thessalonians, but through it all they love one another and persevere in faith.

Covid is rearing its ugly head again, forcing us to consider again what precautions are prudent to protect ourselves and others. Unfortunately Christians are not united in our response to this question. In some cases conflict has caused division in the church, in our schools, workplaces, businesses, and so on. It can get ugly. People have strong feelings on all sides of this question.

I have been very proud of the congregation I lead in suburban Dallas. We have not been in complete agreement during Covid time, but like the Christians in Thessalonika we have continued to love one another – even when we disagree. We have kept the faith and persevered thus far. Having to circle back to difficult questions – again – is disheartening for sure. Yet we can have faith that the Spirit of Peace which has rested on the church will continue to keep us in one accord, if not in complete agreement.

Lord Jesus, give to us peace that passes understanding. Help us to be steadfast in this time of trouble and to persevere in faith. Amen.

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