"Abounding in Love"
What enthusiasm! What joy! What love we hear Paul expressing to this gathering of Christians in Thessalonica. Paul's earliest written letter is a celebration of God's activity in the lives of these first-century Christians. One can feel the apostle "abounding in love" for this community of faith.
After serving the same congregation for 32 years, I retired in February. What a rich blessing to move through life's passages with so many families -- to share with them tears both of laughter and of sorrow. Their love and commitment to God, to one another and to the community at large is a wonderful gift. As I retired, very tired indeed, having also spent a week in the hospital that first month, their gift of love helped me to move to a new place.
Paul's blessing in today's reading offers the Thessalonian community his profound and very personal love. Might we share a similar blessing with those whom we serve. During this season may we truly remain "abounding in love."
Loving Lord, for your gifts of family and friends, for the promise of life that issues forth from community, we give you our thanks and praise. In the name of Jesus. 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.