After a very difficult time preaching the gospel in Philippi, Paul, accompanied by Silvanus and Timothy, moves on to Thessalonica. Here too are challenges. Paul then moves on to another city but writes to the Thessalonians to address some issues of behavior and to encourage the believers to live the gospel faithfully. Today’s passage reveals how Paul and other leaders live and preach among Jesus’ followers. Paul and his associates work tirelessly, and their behavior is “pure, upright, and blameless.” Paul and his friends live what they preach.

What does this passage of scripture have to say to us today? How do we live a life worthy of the God who has invited us into the kingdom of grace? Daily reading of scripture and time for prayer and reflection have greatly enriched my life. I also belong to a small group that meets weekly to share our faith journey with Christ and to do lectio divina together. Following this model from the Benedictine tradition, we read a passage of scripture, enter into a time of silent reflection, and then share what we have gleaned from the Bible passage. We need one another to encourage, support, challenge, and love us ever deeper into grace.

It is a good idea sometimes to revisit the effectiveness of the daily disciplines we have chosen. Lately I am finding that poetry, music, and art are also rich sources for meditation; a walk in the woods opens my eyes to the awesome presence of the Creator who is always faithful. In today’s passage, Paul reminds us that when we recognize God’s Word coming to us in any form, God’s Word is at work in us.

Faithfulness is one of the nine fruits of the Spirit. (See Galatians 5:22-23.) Read this passage at the end of the day to help you reflect on how fruitful your work, relationships, and prayer have been today.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 23:1-12

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Lectionary Week
October 26—November 1, 2020
Scripture Overview

The book of Joshua tells the story of the return of the Israelites to the land promised to Abraham. They have escaped captivity in Egypt by a miraculous crossing, and now they enter the land in a similar way. Psalm 107 speaks of God gathering the people from distant lands and bringing them out of the desert into a land of plenty. It is a poetic reflection on the experience of the Israelites. Paul often experiences resistance from various sources. In a defense of his integrity, he points to his actions as proof of his virtue. Jesus reminds us that we can do the right thing for the wrong reasons. If we act in order to draw attention to ourselves, then even good deeds lose their luster in God’s eyes.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Joshua 3:7-17. When have you had to trust leaders for the good of your community?
Read Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37. Recall difficult times in your faith journey. How did you experience God’s steadfast love through these times?
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13. What daily practices give you insight into God’s Word? How do you encourage others in their life of faith?
Read Matthew 23:1-12. Do your leaders live what they preach? If you are a leader, how do you strive to live the gospel?

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.