I hope you are enjoying this Christmas Season.
I know it is different. Believe me, I know.
But the differences that the events of 2020 have made in our lives that have caused us some sorrow, grief, loss and anxiety have also sharpened our vision to the things we have that we are so grateful for.
We have become, hopefully, more compassionate for those who are struggling and we have been able to put some wider parameters around what we consider to be a hassle and have gained new perspective on how some things are just inconveniences and we can deal with them.
As we continue to work through the passages of 1 Thessalonians, today I settle on a sweet way for us to pray for each other that Paul teaches in his letter.
Now may our God and Father Himself and our Lord Jesus prepare the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love grow more and multiply for each other and for all people so that you will love others as we love you. May your hearts be made strong so that you will be holy and without fault before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with His holy ones.1 Thessalonians 3: 11-13
This speaks to me in a time when I see very few of the people I call my family in Christ.
It has been nine months since our world stopped and we went into isolation. While Russ and I have made the decision to attend our church service as provided with masking and social distancing and limited numbers, each week we sit in little pockets of whatever pew space is available.
I see some friends off in other pews and we wave. But there are so many faces I miss seeing. I miss the gathering there in the sanctuary. I miss getting together with friends and family and seeing their entire face and hugging. I miss seeing the entire facial expression behind a conversation I am having with someone.
So I understand this prayer for God to make a way for us to be together again.
And as the world seems to be growing harder and more bitter about the state we are in (literally and figuratively depending on your current “state” of residence), I love how Paul teaches me to pray for our love to grow more and more.
Not just for our love to grow and multiply for other believers, but for all people. As we have become isolated, it is becoming easier to ignore any hardening of the spiritual arteries. When we don’t have to exchange casual conversation with people we disagree with, we don’t realize how cold our hearts are growing towards others.
With the banter of ideologies and political views going on, we can silence those we don’t want to hear from…but are we praying for them? Is our love increasing for those who do not know Jesus? When we pray for believers, are we asking God to help make them holy? Are we remembering that Christ will return and all masks of all kinds will be removed?
All hearts and motives will be revealed.
Let us not grow weary in the meantime. Nor should we grow numb.
Let’s pray for our leaders, whoever they are. Let’s speak kindly to and about others. Let’s remember the prayers of Scripture that guide our hearts to pray God’s heart.