Wednesday, January 7th

“But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. He has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us—just as we long to see you. For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith. For we now live, if you continue to stand firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.”  1 Thessalonians 3:6-10

 

We have one retired pastor who is a member of Covenant.  Whenever I’ve “talked shop” with him and the conversation has turned back to the past, he always has a memory or story about the congregation he served in Wisconsin.  He served many other places through the years, but quite clearly the highlight of his ministry was the time he spent in Wisconsin.

 

In the same way, we come across many people through our lifetimes, but some people have become friends in a way that most others don’t.  Those are the friends with whom time is irrelevant.  You might not see each other for years but, when you do, you pick right back up where you left off as if you had never been apart.

 

Maybe it is just chemistry that our lives get marked to such depth on those occasions.  Maybe it is just luck or blind fate.  But if you take a moment and reflect you will see that there was something else going on.  You “went through” something significant with those never lost friends.  My pastor friend went through some great joys and struggles, both with his family and with the congregation, during those years in Wisconsin.  It wasn’t simply the people and the place, their personalities or their plights, but it was the depth of the shared journey that roots them in our minds.

 

In the same way, Paul’s time with the Thessalonians was a special time, a time of endurance in the face of struggles and great joy to be doing it together.  When Timothy comes back to Paul with good news about the on-going life of the Thessalonian church, Paul just had to write back to share his joy.

 

Is it sad, that a pastor should remember so fondly only one congregation after decades of ministry, or that we should look back and see a small handful of people who we claim as our deepest friends?  I don’t think so.  I think it is enough.  I use salt to season my food but I don’t sit down to a meal of salt alone.

 

Those moments, those memories, those people – realizing of course that we could be living in the midst of those moments and those people right now – are what sustain us through all of the other moments and people of our lives.

 

Remember – Jesus doesn’t call us to HAVE those moments or people, he calls us to BE them.  For we are the salt of the earth.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, we join Paul in his gratitude for his shared memories and joy at hearing about the faith of the Thessalonians.  It reminds us of those people and those times that have deeply marked our lives.  We too are grateful, not only for those people or those times, but for you for bringing us to them, and through them.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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