Today’s Scriptures: Lectionary selections from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
One thing I like about working in education is that every school year comes with a fresh beginning. The previous year is boxed away (literally - grade and attendance documents are stored away until it is legal to destroy them) and teachers have new students and students have new teachers. Whatever happened the year before has been forgotten and we start the new year with new hope and energy. Unfortunately, the rest of our lives do not operate quite the same way, so we do have some hope when we see the hope a new beginning from God.
The Isaiah passages consider God’s role in our lives and the world he wanted. The verses from Chapter 12 celebrated God’s forgiving power in that even when we are doing wrong, God loves us enough to put aside his wrath and be our salvation. Chapter 65 describes the right and orderly world, as God intended, that he will bring about for the well-being of the faithful. God’s care for us is intentional when we do as he expects.
The passage in 2 Thessalonians reminds us that our work as Christians does not stop when we believe - that is where it begins. We all have a purpose and a job to do. Being idle or a busybody were people taking advantage of the generosity of the early church. The lived off the church without contributing anything to their own well-being. Others in the church worked to support themselves and then gave to the church. Paul reminded them, that regardless of his stature in the early church, he and his companions worked to pay their way, not expecting gifts from others.
Jesus shares a world of chaos and calamity in the Luke passage. Wars, famine, earthquakes, plagues will happen on the earth but we should not be tricked into believing that any of those things mark his return to the earth. The people acting in faith will always find themselves at risk by powers, religious groups, and even their own families, yet he assures them that not even a hair on their head will perish. This was not a physical promise Christ made, but a spiritual one. Many were martyred - but their souls have eternity through enduring in the faith.
New beginnings. Fresh starts. Our Christian faith, built on grace, accepts that none of us is perfect: we are human. Fortunately, we worship God who values us enough to let us be works-in-progress during our physical lives with the promise of becoming the perfect creation of his vision in the New Jerusalem.
Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org