Rejoice Always

Life Notes—October 29, 2009

 “See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

There are many passages in the Bible I wish were not there. Living a life of faith and following the teachings of our Lord would be so much easier without some of the zingers that are interspersed throughout scripture. The deletion of the three verses above just might be a good place to start. Try as I might to interpret them in a less-blunt manner, they still end up directing me to act in ways that do not come naturally for me.

If I am not to repay evil for evil I probably shouldn’t lay on my horn when someone cuts me off in traffic. It apparently is not enough to simply seek to do good to another, but I must always seek to do good to another. And not just to one other, but to all! I supposed that includes the co-worker whose personal life I know better than my own since he/she won’t stop complaining about it. Rejoice always—are you kidding me? With all that happens in my life? Pray without ceasing? Give thanks in all circumstances? This is the will of God for me??? It makes God seem like some sadistic monster!

The man who wrote these passages was Paul, and Paul was never one to mince words. They are a part of one of his letters to the church at Thessalonica to teach and encourage the congregation in their young faith, even from a distance. Paul spent much of the evangelizing part of his life in prison. I am told he had numerous infirmities and was often sick. I have read the prisons he was in were probably not what we know as prison cells, as much as dark holes in the ground under the dungeons we think of as prisons of the time. Rejoice always? Pray without ceasing? Give thanks in all circumstances? Wow. If Paul could do that with his lot in life, I should be able to work at it, too.

This Sunday is All Saints Day and we will celebrate the lives of the saints of our church who passed over this past year. It is also Commitment Sunday where we will receive the financial pledges from our church family for 2010. Finally, we will celebrate communion at all four services. It is not a Sunday to be missed. Life Worship begins at 10:45 in Brady Hall. Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Contemporary worship begins at 9:30 at the west campus.

Come home to worship this Sunday! Rejoice and give thanks with us! Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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