Created for Community
“Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith, that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.” 1 Thess. 3:1-5
“Two are better than one,” we read in Ecclesiastes. God created humanity to live in community, with Him and with one another. As we have made our way through St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, we repeatedly see the importance of our relationships with other Christians. The Christian faith is not something that one reads and lives out in solitude. Instead, God knits together people from disparate backgrounds, cultures and experiences into one community where Christ is what unites. Within that community, Christians are called to build up and encourage one another. When Paul knew that he was not able to see the Thessalonians in person, He sent Timothy in his place to strengthen them in the faith.
Missouri District school administrators gathered together this week for presentations and round table discussions about a wide variety of topics. These presentations could have taken place online and saved people important resources of time and money. However, they willingly drove from all over Missouri to meet together in Columbia so that they could build up and encourage one another.
You might be able to watch services online where the church has better technology, music or even preaching. However, God has made you to be part of a specific community of believers who need you and the mutual support that you both give and receive. Our congregations are not perfect. They are made up of broken sinners like each of us. However, our congregations are people who have been joined together by the Holy Spirit and covered with the blood of Jesus. My prayer for our congregations is that they would be communities of believers, encouraging one another in Christ and His gifts.
Many congregations right now are wondering what to do with those who have been hesitant to return to worship. This is where we can take a page from St. Paul and never fail to encourage them, whether by written or spoken word. May each of these people who are slow in returning know that they are loved by Christ and their congregation.
Prayer - Almighty God, You have knit Your chosen people together into one communion in the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Give to Your whole Church in heaven and on earth Your light and Your peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan