On this Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, we will read and reflect on a lesson from the Second Letter to the Thessalonians. The challenges of living together as a faith community were becoming issues that faced the Christians in the early Church. How can we make room for a diversity of thoughts, opinions, and abilities, yet be a welcoming community that diligently works together to witness to the mission of Christ's mercy and compassion in the world? There were those who seemed to live in a manner that was disruptive to the good of the whole. How do we express our individual expressions of God in our life, yet also come together for the work of the Christian community? We will explore thoughts of Christian life and unity.
Our Scripture passage is found in the Second Letter to the Thessalonians. You may find the Scripture lesson by selecting the following link: (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13).
For continuing study, reflect on these questions (found in the study guide below):
Read the assigned Scripture lesson for the week. Reflect on any words, thoughts or verses in the Scripture lesson that had particular meaning for you today.
Read the "WHAT..." paragraph in the guide below and reflect on your thoughts and impressions of what the Christian church in Thessalonica might have looked like to an outsider. How might the "messiness" or differing opinions of the community been perceived by someone outside of this community?
Read the "WHERE..." paragraph below and consider how discipline might have been interpreted in the early church. Do you think the measures of discipline would have been a way to increase trust, or might it have been a means of turning some away? What do you think would have been the proper responsibilities of the leaders of the church?
Read the "SO WHAT..." paragraph below and reflect on the community of faith where you regularly attend and engage in ministry: in what ways is your community of faith a place where people can grow in faith?
Read the "NOW WHAT..." paragraph below and consider how your community of faith might do things that make everyone feel welcomed and able to participate in the life of the community. What are some specific actions that would welcome people to participate, regardless of their background or previous religious experience?