1 Thessalonians 2:9-13 (NRSV)
Verse 9You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. Verse 10You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was toward you believers. Verse 11As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, Verse 12urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
Verse 13We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers.
Today is All Saint’s Day. The hymn “For All the Saints” (ELW 422) is running through my mind! People, events, and significant moments accompany the words and music of that familiar hymn! Today, I invite you to take a few moments to remember those “saints” who have accompanied you within your life.
The Apostle Paul did that as he wrote to the people of Thessalonica! Paul gave thanks for the people who had heard the gospel of God through his own words and actions and urged them to become “witnesses” to everyone they interacted with and lived with. Don’t hold back! Don’t keep your relationship with God a secret!
That sounds like it could be Paul’s challenge to each of us! Unknown to the people of Thessalonica and even to Paul himself, he is as it were, imagining, naming, nurturing, and supporting us along with those first century “saints,” encouraging us to follow and to stand on their shoulders as saints in the 21st Century!
Guiding God, may we listen with our ears, follow with our feet, and open our hands in service as we travel trusting your promise that you will be with each of us, your “saints,” yesterday, today, and forever. In the Light of Jesus, our Redeemer. Amen.