Daily Meditations Published by IT Fellowship of North America & Europe Diocese of Mar Thoma Church
Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION FORUM Word for the Day "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". Psalm 119:105
Discipleship: Call to Witness 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
v17-18 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
I remember the utter excitement there was when my cousins had their first kids. My cousins were like my siblings, so to see them wait and cradle this bundle of joy had us all bursting at the seams. I am sure that 9-month journey for them was so much more than the young baby lying healthy before me- the aches and kicks, the nervous excitement of doctor visits, the morning sickness, the concerns of family health history, and a crazy delivery. Yet the journey and wait is worth it knowing what comes at the end of that time period. The story had its apexes and nadirs, but the expectation was a fulfilling and joyful one. Famous author and convert C.S. Lewis often described joy as a deep ache for something not of this world. He did not comprehend fully what the longing was until he met the Lord. I imagine the story of conversion to faithfully walking with Jesus is not a perfect metaphor to childbirth, but there is a hopeful and joy-oriented mindset that is in both stories with millions of experiences in between. I say this as we dive into the passage from 1 Thessalonians.
The epistle to Thessalonica is Paul’s instructions to a people who faced a battle on two fronts- from ardent Jewish people and Gentiles. The converts had been tested and Paul wanted to instruct them on their path and affirm their journey. He was delighted to hear from Timothy that people were holding on, so Paul wanted to reinforce the foundations the Thessalonians were given.
The verse of focus Paul writes in the passage is to encourage the people who had seen persecution and may have faced doubts in keeping with their new found faith. Was this journey really worth losing one’s life or disownment by peers? Paul encourages them in saying that those who have died are to be resurrected with the Lord before them and that they too will join them. He offers this as a long lasting goal to strive for. A desire and pursuit worth building towards by seeking Christ in all things. Joy as we know is a state of being while happiness is momentary. Rather just stumble through life until it ends, stand firm in faith knowing the end is an exuberance beyond life’s wildest dreams.
In this Christmas season and as we close out what seems to be one of the more chaotic years in world history, I pray we focus on the future joy that comes with Christ. Do we realize the God of the universe came down in the form of refugee baby, then won the greatest victory of all time? His sacrifice on the cross is what makes our joy possible because we know an eternity with the Lord- the true source of joy. I know that many have lost loved ones, face joblessness, are estranged from loved ones, fighting hard battles at work, and dealing with other challenges that existed pre-pandemic. My prayer is that you do not forget that God is still in control and bigger than this, as cliché as it may sound. We have a goal to strive for not of this world, so let us run fully towards He who fulfills the ache the world cannot. Blessings to you all.
PRAYER Heavenly Father help us to fight for the joy of being with you even when we struggle to feel your presence.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
How can I better focus on the future goals of being with God in the here and now of everyday life? How am I being distracted and forgetting what I expect at the end of this time?
Arun Chacko, MTC Staten Island
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church
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