The Narrative Lectionary continues its sweep through Acts, this week with the story of Paul and Silas in Thessalonica. We see the story as Luke tells it in Acts and the way Paul refers to it in a letter to the church.
This is a good text to offer when people in the pews tell us that preaching should only be comforting, and that it shouldn’t divide or get political. Paul would be surprised that people would expect preaching not to challenge people. He went to jail for it. His preaching drew mobs. His preaching turned the world upside down.
What word are you hearing for your people in these texts this week? Do we need to hear how and why Jesus is a Messiah, even if we thought the Messiah would come in military power? Is there a comforting (and challenging) word in the reminder that God has power to save us that isn’t the power of Caesar?
Thinking of Paul’s letter to the church, I wonder what letter we would write to our churches, now that we’ve been apart for so long. This will be the 8th week of online worship for the congregation I serve. I miss my people. I thought we’d be back by now. A letter to them would speak of my love for them, of how I miss them, of how much I appreciate their willingness to welcome and make space for people, of how much their voice in our community still matters.
And having been away from my people makes me appreciate Paul’s language in his letters better. In my pre-COVID life, I thought his salutations and greetings were overwrought. But now that I’m away from my congregation, I want to scream out “grace and peace to you. I give thanks for you constantly!”
Feel free to add ideas here for the benefit of your fellow preachers. Video time with the children? Other things you’ve learned along the way?
Marci Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the boards of the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and the Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church USA. Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book, There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).
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