December 1

Good morning!

Today’s scripture:

1 Thessalonians 1:2-10

The Message (MSG)

Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Although great trouble accompanied the Word, you were able to take great joy from the Holy Spirit!—taking the trouble with the joy, the joy with the trouble.
 Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! People come up and tell us how you received us with open arms, how you deserted the dead idols of your old life so you could embrace and serve God, the true God. They marvel at how expectantly you await the arrival of his Son, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from certain doom.

Today there is much going on.  Today is World Aids Day.

The theme this year is “getting to zero.”  Today we recognize that there is still a problem with AIDS…new people being infected, new cases being reported, lives destroyed because of lack of cure.  Here is a link to an organization called Cool People Care.  Today they have lots of cool links to get more info or to step up.

Today is also the day Rosa Parks is celebrated all over the world.  December 1st is when she took a stand without even really meaning to. She got tired and sat down.  This changed the world.  Here is her bio if that is interesting to you today.
Today is also the first day on Advent calendars all over the world. While in the church world we start Advent the Sunday after Thanksgiving, many people start Advent the first day of December.  I remember being so excited for the Advent calendar to begin.  I always got to open the first day since I was the first child and that’s how my brothers and I doled things out.  So today was all on me, I really kicked off the Advent season in my mind. Little did I know that so many important things were happening on this day.  While we celebrate someone who took a stand, perhaps its time for us to do our homework about what is going on in the world concerning World AIDS day.  I see all over facebook that the United Methodist Church is looking at AIDS in Guatemala and people are working in Africa.  The Human Rights Campaign is working in the US and there are many more people to support and join.

Word gets out that there is something to be done and we are doing it.  In Thessalonians, Paul is encouraging this community to continue to be the church in the world. By being the church in the world, the word is getting out that Jesus is working in the world. While Paul keeps this church in about 52 AD in his prayers, he is busy to spread the word of the church in the world.  I get the impression that the church in Thessolonica is not so concerned about buildings but about creating change beyond the walls.  My hope for the Church in the world is that perhaps someday we are known for the things we are doing and how we are connecting in the world rather than the buildings we own or are housed in.  I am proud as a pastor when people think the cafe downtown in my office rather than inside the church building.

Today we hear the call to learn about what is happening out there and join people who recognize the church out there.  As Paul says in this interpretation of scripture, “you are the message!” You are Jesus out in the world.  You are the message of good news while you are passionate about a cause and create movement.  

Prayer:  O God, we hear your call to pursue our passions in making a difference.  We are eager to change the world.  We are eager to see AIDS down to zero.  We are eager to continue Rosa’s call of sitting together in this.  We pray for those already working towards change and hope that you move through us as we venture out today. Amen.


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