The Shepherd’s Vigil, 2/16/22

For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that God has chosen you.                 1 Thessalonians 1:4

The letter by Paul written to the community of new believers in Thessalonica is full of encouragement.  Followers of Christ are loved and chosen by God for a Holy purpose and empowered by the Spirit.  These words of scripture still encourage us today with the good news that we are chosen by God.

“Couer” in French means heart.  Thus, the word encourage literally means to put the heart in people. (To discourage means to tear the heart out.)  The purpose of the church is to build each other up, to encourage each other, to help each other take on the heart of Christ.  The body of Christ, the church, is given to us for encouragement.  This strength and courage enables us to follow Christ and love others.

We need the community of faith.  The apostle Paul knew this and was always writing to encourage the church.  Now these letters in the Bible encourage us.  They put the heart in us to love others through our service and generosity.  When we serve, we encourage others.  When we give, we encourage others.  When we engage in worship, we encourage others.  When we share words of comfort and love, one on one or in a small group, we encourage others.

Who has encouraged you?  How have you been encouraged?  If you have been blessed, then you can also be a blessing to others.  If people praying for you has lifted you, then pray for others.  If the financial giving of others has built up the church that blesses you, then give to the mission of the church.  The actions we take to build up the church community are actions that encourage others.

Brothers and sisters, God loves you and you have been chosen.  I hope you feel the encouragement and share it.  That is church.

 Pastor Rafe