Letters to the Thessalonians

This devotional is written by Arabella Northey. Arabella is thankful that St Mary's loves the Holy Spirit, Karaoke, Dancing, Parties, the Bible (in no particular order) and is already booked up for next year's New Wine! 

2 Thessalonians 3:16-18

Final Greetings
16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
17 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Reflection

The good old people of Thessalonica, nestled beside the sea and ready to jump on the Jesus wagon obviously needed encouragement from Paul. The newly converted Jews and Gentiles had heard the message, but life was not all plain sailing and they encountered challenges and trials which would have rocked any new faith.  To all Christians at this time, persecution was the norm and being able to stand firm would have taken their faith to new levels.  However, being pushed and challenged was refining their faith, they had heard God's promises and were willing to pray and rejoice, asking the Holy Spirit to fill them. They had a community around them that worshipped together and were able to pursue Godliness and turn from local distractions.

Paul closes his letter with heartfelt entreaties to let God's peace be within them – not just on them, but between them. In our daily lives, we are often very good at reading advice or ideas whether it be from: newspapers; facebook links; buzzfeed; mindfulness apps, but often overlook what the Bible has to tell us. As we close these two letters meditate on Paul's words.

True peace comes from the Lord and by reading and soaking up Paul's words we will experience that sense of nearness and reassurance that comes from being close to God.

Unity is the key: church is an unusual club that it accepts all and brings a hotchpotch of us together. As a bunch of misfits, ready to seek Jesus, we also learn to come close to those around us.  I think the church is so often a miraculous example of Jesus' incarnation and I have been part of many churches… and yes there have been times when groups have been troubled and discord has been sown, but as we turn back to the Lord and wait upon him we know that he has so much more to give us and that all we seek is his peace and grace.

Today, if you have a situation that is weighing upon you or a relationship that is hurting, turn and hear Paul's joy at saying 'peace' and pray for the power of the spirit to fall on you and bring healing, turn despair into joy, raise you up and show you the power of a community together.

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