Offertory Prayer

Invitation to the Offering
The offering you made last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also helped support the work of ministries beyond the local church that reach people who are in desperate need to feel the touch of love and reconciliation. Through the World Service Fund, your church supports a great tradition of United Methodist support for Higher Education. Providing scholarships and loans, a network of college chaplains, and an ongoing relationship with 113 colleges, universities and seminaries that are part of our connection – together we open doors to education for many deserving students. This ministry happens thanks to the generous support of United Methodists like you. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes and offerings.

Learn more about the work of our General Board of Higher Education & Ministry at www.gbhem.org

September 21, 2014 – Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide
Generous God, you provide for all our needs, if we but put our trust in you. When the Israelites were hungry in the wilderness and began to complain, you gave them bread in the form of manna to eat in the morning, and quail to satisfy their hunger in the evening. You gave just enough, to be consumed with gratitude and trust. Generous God, help us to give with generosity this morning, with gratitude for all we have received from your goodness, and with trust in your faithfulness. We pray in the name of Christ our Savior. Amen. (Exodus 16:2-15)
"Prayers by Ken Sloan. Copyright General Board of Discipleship. www.GBOD.org Used by permission."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Remembering Your Faith, Hope, and Love, Reflection on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Scholars believe that this letter is the oldest one that we have that was written by Paul. As such, it is the oldest piece of Christian literature that we have. For example, evidence indicates that it is dated at about 50 CE, twenty years before the Gospel of Mark would have been written.

His audience lived a long way away from Jerusalem--not only in miles. They were Greek and they were Gentile. Paul begins his letter, as was the practice of the time, with a greeting. But, he changes the greeting from what they would have been accustomed to.

The Graeco-Roman practice of the time was to begin letters with the Greek word, chairein, which meant "Greetings." Paul instead used the Greek word, charis, which sounds similar but mean "peace." This term would thus echo the term customarily used as greeting by the Jews, shalom, which meant "peace."

Thus, in his greeting, Paul has combined the traditonal Graeco-Roman form of greeting with the religious one. He's speaking to people who have accepted the faith and have been incorporated into God's family.

In verse 3, Paul expresses thanks to God for the way that the Thessalonians are living their lives. They have faith--not just an attitude, but the God-given power to do Christian work. They have love--not just an emotion, but the means by which they carry out this work. They have hope--not just optimism, but a confident expectation that God will triumph.

Hear the echo, in verses 9-10, as Paul describes the Christian experience. Because of your faith, you turned to God. Because of your love, you served God. Because of your hope, you are waiting for his Son, our rescuer.

(Note: my source for this explanation comes from The People's New Testament Commentary, by Boring and Craddock. I hope you have access to a copy yourself.)

Lectio Divina: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3.

3 comments:

JMS said...

I'm curious about the *evidence* of 1Thes being written in 50CE, and being the oldest Christian Literature.

1Thes mentions Timothy, and Luke mentions Timothy joining Paul, during Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey - 52CE. This would also synch with Luke's account of Paul starting the Church in Thessolonika. AFAIK, Galatians is believed to have been written probably between the 1st and 2nd Journeys, based on Acts 15. Galatians would have been written in 49CE.

Una Malachica said...

According to Frank J. Matera, in the New Interpreter's Study Bible, the letter to the Galatians could have been written as early as 49 to 50 CE. However, most scholars think that Paul wrote to the Galatians from Ephesus or Macedonia about 55 CE.

Barbara Reid, also in NISB, points out that Luke was not an eyewitness for all the events he narrates. Scholars believe that Luke used several different sources for his compilation of Acts, the companion to the Gospel of Luke.

JMS said...

Thanks.

Most writings/references I've read lean towards the early date, and I can't reconcile the later date, but that is an argument beyond this post. I understand the arguments.

I do believe/agree Luke was not an eyewitness to everything, as evidenced by his use of they vs we, specifically in Troas / Acts 16:8-10.

Thank you for your time.

I stumbled on your blog, as I was looking to find if there had been any corrolated analysis between Paul's use of Faith, Hope & Love in: 1Thes 1:3, and 1Cor 13:13.

I do like this post.

- Thanks.