We live in the pull between the past and the future. We live in the now and the not yet. The coming of Advent and the beginning of a new church calendar year provides us an opportunity to reflect on how we live with purpose. Like the Thessalonians, we wait for the promise of Jesus' return, and yet we grow weary of waiting. Paul understands this tension and reminds this fledgling church, and us today, that we don't wait alone and that while we wait there is God's work to be done! Paul prays that love will increase among the people, for God is most fully revealed to the world by love. This love that looks forward, moves us forward, transforms our present reality. Building each other up in love, praying night and day, looking for God's work in the world while we wait, pulls us into the hope of God's promises for newness, forgiveness and mercy through Jesus.
Holy One of Hope, strengthen us as we wait for you. Let us build up your people with love and continuous prayer. Transform our present as we look to the future you promise through your son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (NRSV)
9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you?
10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you.
12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.
13 And may he 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.