Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Worship -The Celebration of Faith
1 Thess 5:12-22
Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians gives important clues into what made Paul so effective at founding churches. This letter, believed to be one of his earliest letters , provides a firsthand account of Paul’s relationship with a missionary church. In this epistle, St. Paul praises their strength, and continually thanked God for their spiritual progress. It also reveals the gratitude, disappointment and joy of a beloved missionary, who cannot stop thinking about the church he left behind in his missionary journey.
Today we are meditating on the theme “Worship – The celebration of faith”. We celebrate many things in our lives. We celebrate our birthdays, our wedding anniversaries, important events in our social, national, and religious events. What is most important in our lives is that how do we celebrate our faith In God? Do we celebrate our faith in God through regular worship services with our fellow christians?
The word “Worship” is derived from two words i.e. Worth and Ship. So worth-ship is the quality of having worth or of being worthy. When we worship, we are saying that God has worth, that he is worthy. Worship means to declare worth, to attribute worth. Or to put it in biblical terms, we praise God. We speak, or sing, about how good and powerful God is. Doing so is the purpose for which we were called of God to be followers of Jesus: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” 1 st Peter 2:9. A central part of a Christian’s calling is to declare that God is worthy—that he is worth more than everything else put together.
In today’s portion, Paul is giving his final instructions to the Thessalonian church. In nutshell he speaks of the characteristic features of a worshipping church and how we can celebrate our faith. Worship is an integral part of Christian life. He explains here to practice the worshipping and thankful life. It should not be confined to mere words but should reflect in our day-do-day practical life. Worshipping draws God’s people together, and it should include all the relationships Paul mentions in the portion which we are meditating today.
Respect our leaders : Vs. 12 – 13 advises the worshipping community that elders are to be respected and esteemed highly. They should have a constant part in the prayers of the church, and their ministrations should be accepted with thanksgiving. Part of their responsibility is to give needed admonition(v.12) . Have we learned to give thanks to God for this? Thanksgiving when our failures are pointed out to us is the first step to victory over them. The first step to celebrate our faith during worship is to give thanks to God when our failures are pointed out by elders of the church.
V.14 advises us that idlers are to be administered, faint-hearted to be encouraged, weak to be helped. Do we tend to despise such people, or do we thank God for the opportunity of ministering to them, and thank him too for the spiritual potential that is in them ? Only then we can do our ministry effectively. Do we return evil for evil, or do we really seek the benefit of those who do us wrong and thank God for the opportunity of displaying God’s grace by forgiving them? Jesus has commanded us to love our enemies. Just like Jesus practiced what he preached, we should also make sure that we practice what we preach, as faith without works is dead.
V.16 18 Paul here gives three important exhortations how we can celebrate our faith, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances”. In the midst of adverse circumstances in our lives, are we able to rejoice in Christ always? What about our prayer life? Are we able to pray incessantly and seek the will of God? We should be able to give thanks to God in all circumstances irrespective of the outcome, thereby celebrating our faith in Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Vs.19 – 22: True worship and thanksgiving are dependent upon our obedience to God. This is the force of Paul’s exhortation in vs.19-22. There is no ground for thanksgiving unless the Spirit is free to do His work within us (v.19), or if we are unresponsive to the Word of God (v.20), or are unconcerned about righteous living and our testimony before others (vs.21-22). We have no right to go our own way and thank God for our defeats, imagining them to be victories. True worship and thanksgiving is always ready for correction. If it is true spiritual worship and thanksgiving, and not merely a spirit of self-congratulation, it will open our needs and contribute to Gods work of sanctification in us.
Examine our spiritual life and how do we worship God? Let us celebrate our faith by respecting our elders who guide and lead us in our spiritual journey, be joyful always , pray without ceasing and be thankful to God for every thing we may encounter in our lives. Let our lives be a role model and a blessing to others.
Lord, give us obedient hearts, and a spirit of thanksgiving for what you want to do in us, and in others through us and celebrate our faith through worship.
Thought for the Day
True worship is walking with God
The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island, New York