We cannot be certain what sort of persecution the Thessalonica church was facing, but Paul commends them for persevering in their faith in the midst of the persecution and trials and points out their growth in love in the midst of it all. Their faith and love was central to their survival. We cannot be certain what sort of persecutions the Thessalonians faced, but we know well the persecutions and trials that we face. The pains of the sinful world affect us we cannot but itch and squirm and often avoid talking and thinking about these trials. As sinners we cannot perfectly and patiently endure these things alone.
Thank God, from the moment we enter His family through faith worked in the water and the word, we are no longer alone. One amazing thing that Paul pointed out to the Thessalonians is that they were growing stronger together in their love for one another. This is an amazing way to see the difficult situations that we inevitably face in life as opportunities. They are opportunities for us to grow in love for one another.
That love doesn’t grow from fear, fighting and avoidance, instead it comes from sharing together. Our congregation has a mission statement of Sharing Christ through Witness, Mercy and Life Together. When we share with one another in these ways, our love will grow and we will remain even when all around us is falling. We have many opportunities for our congregation to grow in love underway and many more starting up. Our small group ministry, our CRHP teams, our friendship circle, our Wednesday morning prayer group, our youth and confirmation programs are just some of the many places you can see our congregation growing in faith and love.
But nowhere is this growth more clear than in our Divine Services. There we continue to receive Christ’s Body and Blood, hear His Word and receive the washing of renewal all for the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. This is obviously not from our own doing — but by God for our faith which is created and preserved by Him — all so that we can love Him and our neighbors. He loves us enough to keep us standing when falling seems likely. His continued persistent, tenacious love for us is something that will endure and is nothing short of miraculous. May all we do bring glory to Him.