Tim and Jonny led today and Penny brought us some news on the BMS work planned in Africa .
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
A letter to Christians not unlike us. Paul seems a little harsh here. Tim compares this to the professional performers in Strictly where people are all in sync. Imagine the Red Arrows all in sync.
What happens when things go wrong. It looks a mess. Verse 6 says watch out for those who step out of line. The display is being spoilt, the flow is damaged, the outsiders see something is wrong. “I command you” from Paul is a strong message.
This passage is a call to work, to be busy. The idlers may be those who think God is coming soon so why bother. There are those today who think that working for justice today is a waste of time and God isn’t bothered about this little planet .. God is before all things and reconciles everything in the passage edris read today. Think about the issues affecting our planet climate change etc.
Maybe it also refers to people taking advantage of an incredibly generous community.
Not so sure these are who Paul is talking about.
Third possibility is the wealthy who expect others to do things for them.
We don’t know who Paul is referring to. This scripture has been used to deny help to others. The key to interpretation of this is really the last phrase focussing in on “do not weary”.
An alternative interpretation is that those being referenced are trouble makers. V11 the word play is even true in the Greek, busy bodies causing grief and trouble using their efforts for chaos rather than serving the community. This is nothing to do with who deserve help, but simply saying do not stop helping. Expectations that people would follow what the disciples had handed on to them. Tradition is a tough word in churches, pew vs chair, modern versed established ways. If we limit our view to this letter think of the encouragement of verse 1. The grace, the relationship with the father, the relationship with Jesus and the disciples, follow the ways of Jesus. Jesus will speak the truth and annihilate the liar.
This can be the reality in our society. What does our dance look like?
Common life of the disciples is essential to the well being of the community.
Reminder is to be the kind of community life that focussed on the good of all and not the individual. Charity at times was not very loving. Do people in need deserve help? Of course we believe they do but we have had experience where sometimes it’s not received with gracefulness.
Don’t give up! Don’t give up!
If you are unwilling to help then shouldn’t be fed! Maybe this isn’t as harsh as it sounds. Maybe what it is saying is if you don’t get involved you can’t grow. Think about our own experience with Filling Station. Think about the unlikely friendships we now have with people we might not have got the chance to meet.
Tim shared an image of people’s vests in the Durham cathedral art installations. As we sit together as God’s church this is us! Nothing more workmanlike than a vest. This is us filled with God’s Light, a church in step together.
We are part of the dance encouraging others whether in Africa or simply going to school and college. Never stop doing good, don’t be discouraged, as we perform this dance together.Let’s stay in formation. Let’s never tire of doing good.