Tuesday, December 02, 2008

1 Thessalonians 2: 1-12

First, a little background – the church at Thessalonica, which Paul founded, was probably the only church (at least among the New Testament letters) which was not in internal conflict. They didn’t really fight over theology or the gospel – they were a church that suffered persecution from the outside world they didn’t fight among themselves. Thus, Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is very gentle, kind and supportive as seen in today’s reading. As Paul says “But we were gentle* among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. 8So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.”

It is in this context that Paul encourages the Thessalonians to be strong in their faith and steadfast in their own proclamation of the Gospel in the world around them. He reminds them that we proclaim the Good news of God in Christ, not seeking our own reward, but providing only glory to God.

Just as Paul cared so much for those to which he was writing and encouraging, as we approach others with the Gospel and as we live lives that are reflective of the Gospel, so we too must treat people gently. No one likes confrontational, aggressive faith that ignores the individual in the name of religion – Jesus wasn’t that way and neither was St. Paul. Our approach to others must always be one of respect for the other’s dignity and must reflect the love of God at all times. Our witness must not seek glory for glory’s sake, but must bring glory to God. The only way that is done is through gentleness, kindness and reflection of the unsurpassed love of God for each and every one of us.

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