Brothers and sisters, pray for us. Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters. 1 Thessalonians 5: 25-27 (NIV).
We live in really perilous times. Our political discourse has descended into shouts, invective, and violence. From the looks of things, that is going to get worse in the near future. Our economy is booming but there are real, ominous signs of a serious economic correction dead ahead. Even in good times, there are still many in need. Worst of all, we seem to be losing our way. We are turning away from God’s guidance in so many ways and our society, our lives, are suffering because of it. Abortion, gun violence, media / political corruption, apathy, anger and hatred: they’re all negative barometers that are flashing red in 2018 America (maybe even 2018 planet Earth overall).
Pray for us. Brothers and sisters, if you aren’t already, pray for us. All of us. Let’s be real: the world WAS much more dangerous in 1914, 1939, 1962 than it was now. There have been many times in history when things were more perilous than they are now, yet now is all we have to contend with. We need prayer. We need each other to invite God into our processes, into our lives, to help us seek His better ways.
Let’s greet each other with the holy kiss of our day. If you come up to me and want to pucker up, I won’t; in this culture, that’s weird. Overseas it’s pretty normal, and it would have (obviously) been normal in Paul’s culture…but it isn’t here in North Texas (at least not in my circles). But the kiss isn’t the point: the point is fellowship of the Spirit. We should greet each other in ways that show unity in the Spirit and love from the heart. Kiss, handshake, hug, smile, fist bump, bro slap, whatever: we are to do that.
Further, let’s spread the Word. Paul’s letter was indeed read to all the churches; all his letters were. He was the greatest missionary in history and his letters comprise most of the New Testament’s non-Gospel books. We should read them again and again, putting Paul’s advice into practice. We should prayerfully live our lives using these letters and the Gospels they echo as our guide. God, who is always faithful, will teach us, lead us, and work through us the more we grow in His Word. Let’s use our lives, then, to spread that Word.
That way, whether the times are perilous or plentiful, we will be living in such a way as to amplify God’s grace to everyone.
For further reading: Ephesians 6:19, Colossians 4:3, 2 Thessalonians 3:1, Romans 16:16, 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 1 Timothy 4:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:28.
My Lord, let me share You affectionately, with enthusiasm, and with my full heart.