Thursday 8th October 2020 – 1 Thessalonians – Paul’s Anxiety
1 Thessalonians 2: 17 – 20
As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you—in person, not in heart—we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again—but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy!
Does this remind you of any situation that you have faced recently?
Being separated, changed plans, diaries cleared, events cancelled and postponed, family that you want to support but only allowed to do it from a distance?
Paul wants to visit his family. He has described himself as both mother ‘Like a nursing mother taking care of her own children’ (2:7) and Father ‘For you know how, like a father with his children’ (2:11)
Paul has become an orphan (that’s one way to describe lockdown) to those he cares deeply about and he wants to be back with them, sharing the gospel of the person of Jesus.
Who knew, when we have uttered these or similar words: ‘Absent in body but present in mind’ that was a common phrase in Graeco-Roman letter writing?
I am uncomfortable with any thought that Covid-19 is seen as the devil’s work but many will want to have that conversation with you. Paul says that’s what has messed up his plans. For Paul the devil always puts obstacles in the way of the progress of the Kingdom of God and tries to hamper the good works of God’s servants.
May we experience some of Paul’s joy as we gradually return from being on-line, disconnected, re-connected to our New/Old frontlines. Walking the way of Jesus today we can be freed from the guilt of those things that have may have dragged us down in lockdown. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever,
Paul pins everything on this community: ‘They are his hope, joy and crown of his claim to honour; in the presence of his Lord Jesus at his Parousia they will be his honour and joy’*
What an incentive to keep working in order to attain the glory that is to come!
*The Oxford Bible Commentary Page: 1205.
As we pray and praise you without ceasing
fill us with your grace and love.
When faced with distance
may we be present through your Spirit,
so that we seek more opportunities,
not obstacles to following you.
We pray that our lives with you will be
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before you,
Lost in wonder, love and praise. Amen.
© R&S 663 Love Divine Charles Wesley