“Now may the Lord of peace . . give you peace at all times in all ways.”
(2 Thessalonians 3.16)
This message from the second letter to the Thessalonians would just as easily been written to us today in this time and place. If you know your New Testament, it carries the same theme as the FIRST letter to the Thessalonians: the imminent return of Jesus, and the triumphal resolution of God’s plan for all creation.
The need for a “second” letter, though, arose from the growing uneasiness, frustration, and fear within the church from those who thought this was supposed to have happened already. What we know from more than two thousand years of perspective, is that God’s time is not OUR time. But even so, these first Christians live in a time of fear and hopelessness, resulting in divisions, mistrust, and dismay that easily saps the church of its vibrancy in ministry. Sound more-than-vaguely familiar?
The Apostle Paul writes to encourage the faith of Thessalonians (and perhaps us, too) to continue to strive in faith and certain hope. In the midst of division and discord, Paul claims a God of peace who can bring “peace at all times, in all ways.” The church at every time and place wrestles with the distance between our timeframe and expectations and God’s. In God’s time, even the small seeds we plant can grow into sturdy trees. In God’s time, the fears we carry can be transformed into new partnerships and hope. In God’s time, our expectations can
be explained and surpassed by God’s faithfulness to us.
The 2019 Peace and Global Witness Offering encourages us in our time to cast off anxiety and fear, discord and division, and embrace our reconciling God’s mission to those around the corner and the world. It is boundless peace God offers. It quiets the anxiety of each believer by joining us together, as we too offer our prayer: “Now, May the Lord grant us peace in all times and all ways.”
Look for Peacemaking Offering envelopes in the pews to contribute our gift to the peacemaking efforts of the church.