Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4.18
There is hope! The hope of the resurrection! Many would look at the context of this passage and go off on rabbit trails. Rabbit trails regarding the rapture, the return of Jesus and how the world will end. All things worthy of discussion but can nevertheless detract and distract from the reality we currently live and the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Death is very much a reality. We will all face it. Some sooner, some later. Some suddenly, some in painful expectation. It is the end of our life as we know it. Yet this is not the final word. The death of Jesus Christ on a Roman cross is the place and time where even death died. That is not the last word.
This same Jesus is raised from the dead, resurrected, new life and new creation are, and continue to be, affirmed in that event. We can live in the face of death with an unbound hope. A radical hope that can infuse our life with an eternal newness. A life that gets to participate in the coming of a new creation. Encourage your sisters and brothers! Take courage in the word of the resurrection!
Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 1 Thessalonians 4.9
Can one write this of your community of faith? Some, yes and some, no. For those awash in the love of God, you have been taught of God. Remember your lessons well.
For those whose love is lacking or waning, there is hope if the community is teachable. We look to Christ seeing the reality of divine love. We look to sisters and brothers in Christ and we can see that love fleshed out. We see those brothers and sisters and sometimes we are stubborn and we refuse to learn from the hand of the Spirit.We want to be right, to have our way, to have the upper hand. We miss the kernel of truth that awaits to blossom from the situation. The opportunity for growth in faith and in love waits for us to join in the transformative power of the Spirit. We need to embrace the cross, die to our rights, way and position. We must lose for the sake of the others. We must embrace humility, service and most of all, love. Remain teachable and enflesh the lessons from God that God is love.