Pentecost +23 - Year C
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy are able to identify two keys to living as a significant group of people, a covenant group, if you will. Clarity of what it means to grow toward G*D in both individual and corporate arenas stands everyone in good stead. My individual faith encourages and challenges where we as a group place our trust. That which we are discerning together affects where I place meaning in my own life. Growth in all directions is key to a dynamic fellowship, in this case Christian (pre-Constantine). This is a different dynamic than later when formal doctrine will cut some off and homogenize the Church which will lead to authoritarian leadership and a one-right-answer willing to name others as heretic and kill them.
A second key is how we express love for one another. Our neighbors, even those in the "church", are different enough from our self that it is no small matter that we honor one another with our different stages of growth in faith and trust. This is a different dynamic than both of us gazing toward officialdom and trying to measure up to a distant and theoretical way of being in the world.
These dynamics are still worthy ones to search after - growth and love. In fact when they are split from one another we find ourselves splitting from one another. There is no church growth product that will substitute for these basics of growth in meaning (individually and together) and love beyond reflections of our self.
What individual or group within your "church" needs your prayer that these two gifts might surface in their life?
What individual or group outside your "church" needs your prayer that these two gifts might surface in their life?
When growth beyond our current understanding and love beyond our self happen, new hope is born and borne, regardless of religious or non-religious expression/tradition in which they occur.