The Day of the Lord
Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10
Today’s lection offers much for reflection at any time or date, including a division between those who live intentionally through faith in Jesus and those who do not. Yet, look at how we are to arm ourselves to wage the war against darkness! We are to arm ourselves with faith and love. Particularly, I note the hope of salvation as helmet. There is much about which to be discouraged, but I see in this text a call to attack the troubles of the world head on. We have already been saved through Jesus. The Lord is the light of our salvation. Whom or what shall we fear? This is armor enough for any war we are to wage. The final admonition, however, is to encourage one another and build each other up. Oh, if we would only fight all wars by building one another up, rather than tearing each other down. Ignorance is not won over by arrogance, but by building relationships. There are certainly times when words may need to be firm and hard to truths told, but there is never a time when we should not look upon one another with eyes of Christ, armored in faith and love. Recently a young clergy woman was asked how she was dealing with a conflict in her church. She said, “Everyone comes by their opinions out of their own history. I try to listen first and understand where they are coming from. I listen in love, honoring the person first.”
I love the hymn text of #560, Help Us Accept Each Other. Will you pray it with me?
Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us;
teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace.
Be present, Lord, among us and bring us to believe
we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live.
Teach us, O Lord, your lessons, as in our daily life
we struggle to be human and search for hope and faith.
Teach us to care for people, for all not just for some,
to love them as we find them or as they may be come.
Let your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved
in living situations to do the truth in love;
to practice your acceptance until we know by heart
the table of forgiveness and laughter's healing art.
Lord, for today's encounters with all who are in need,
who hunger for acceptance, for righteousness and bread,
we need new eyes for seeing, new hands for holding on:
renew us with your Spirit; Lord, free us, make us one!