To sum up brothers [and sisters], pray for us that the word of the Lord may run freely, having free access and attaining due eminence in our lives as it does in yours. And [in particular pray] that we may be delivered from [the schemes of] opportunistic and evil men, for not everyone is of faith.
     But the Lord is faithful and will confirm your stand, protecting you from evil. And we have [such a] confidence in the Lord about you, that what we advise you to do is what you are already doing.
     And may the Lord direct your hearts in [an ongoing] love for God in the patience of Christ. - II Thessalonians 3: 1-5/transliteration by Bruce C Wearne

Faithful

PICTURE: Andrew Dong/Unsplash

 

"The letter is coming to a close. What should Paul write to conclude his second letter to this congregation who continue to encourage him so much? He will emphasise the reliability of the Lord. We are to hold on to Him by trusting in His promises."

Read in relation to what has already been conveyed by the letter, we perceive that Paul is aware that presumptive “time-tabling” is simply a barrier to the free access of the word of the Lord in their midst.

There are those who spread rumours, who write letters and devise all manner of ways and means to spread their destabilising nonsense. There will also be those who, “behind the scenes” and keeping their actions out of the public eye, will find it helpful to their plans if instability is injected into the social context where they wish to reassert their influence. It is from all such that we need to be delivered, says Paul.

Therefore, the prayer Jesus taught His disciples - protect us from the tempter’s art/ from evil ways help us depart - takes on an everyday relevance. Not everyone is on the side of faith and it is foolish to think so. Paul follows up on his previous dissertation on the “mystery of evil” – clearly these evil schemes of those with presumptive “moving and shaking” authority are what destabilises everyday life and may even, if given the chance, uproot that which had been so carefully planted.

The letter is coming to a close. What should Paul write to conclude his second letter to this congregation who continue to encourage him so much? He will emphasise the reliability of the Lord. We are to hold on to Him by trusting in His promises.

It is in that confidence that we can therefore have confidence in each other.

Love and patience: that is the message of Christ Jesus “in a nutshell”.