The US military is an apprentice organization. It hires personnel with the intent for senior personnel to teach them how to do specific jobs. When I was a beginner chaplain, experienced and wise chaplains trained and mentored me. God willing, I will be able to reciprocate when I am a more experienced chaplain.
The church in Thessalonica is Paul’s apprentice. This church body is just developing, so they know nothing about how a community of Christ-followers should behave. Their mentor wants to teach them how to live life in accordance with the good news offered by Jesus Christ: Keep away from idle and disruptive believers and those who do not live according to what has been taught. Idleness and disruption can be damaging and divisive if left unchecked.
Have you thought about where you might fit in to these verses? Do you identify with the hard-working brothers and sisters in your church body? Have you ever thought about how you might be among the idle and disruptive? An honest self-examination might reveal something that unnerves us. We might just be the very individuals Paul warns us against.
All of us are still apprentices. We continue to learn, no matter our age, what it really means to live in a community of Christ-followers. Creating a relationship with a mentor can help us to live in the right ways. Mentors set an example by which we can measure our own lives. And in the end, we have Jesus Christ, the greatest teacher, to show us the way.
God, you have called your people to live in community with all its challenges. Open our heart and mind so that we may learn from you how to be faithful. Amen.
This week we read two passages from the prophet Isaiah. In the first, God promises a total restoration, a new heaven and a new earth— a theme repeated in Revelation 21. The new Jerusalem will be filled with joy and prosperity. Isaiah 12 offers thanksgiving to God for the gift of salvation. God’s praise will be proclaimed among many nations. In the epistle, Paul chastises a lazy faction among the Thessalonians. This passage has been misapplied as teaching against providing assistance to the poor, but Paul’s target is not the poor; it is those who can provide for themselves but fail to do so because they say they are too focused on waiting for Jesus. In Luke, Jesus foretells future turmoil for Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans.
Read Isaiah 65:17-25. How can you play a part in Isaiah’s vision for God’s people? When do you have to accept that only God can usher in this vision? How do you know the difference between these two situations?
Read Isaiah 12. How can your words be life-changing for others?
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. Who has mentored you in the faith? How has their guidance kept you disciplined and helped you grow?
Read Luke 21:5-19. How do you speak the truth of Jesus to those who say the end is near?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.