Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Many in our secularized culture suggest that Christians, the kind of Christians who take the things of historic Christianity seriously and find them relevant for every day of their lives, are out of touch with reality, burying their heads in the sand, foolish and stupid. This attitude bothers me in particular, since I am one of those Christians and I think I have a pretty good grasp on reality. I know many thoughtful Christians who look at the world around them, analyze it carefully, and connect the dots between theoretical theology and how they live their lives in society.
The apostle Paul, speaking to the Thessalonians, says that they are not wandering around in the dark. They know the truth, including much of what is going to come to pass in the last days. They are not to be deceived.
What kind of deception do the Thessalonians face? In 1 Thessalonians 5:3, it is much like the deception we can read about or hear about every day. "There is peace and security." Yet meanwhile peace has been redefined as what happens when we engage in revolutionary activity. Security is to be found in submission to the supposedly enlightened secularism which denies any validity to any religious or otherwise traditional points of view.
There is no peace to be found in revolt. There is no security to be found in throwing off tradition, discipline, and reason. The idea is sheer folly. Paul later compares the view of those who would deceive the Thessalonians to robbery, to blindness, sleep, and drunkenness. The trajectory leads to the wrath of God.
How does the Christian live? We have our eyes open to the claims of the Gospel - that Jesus has been able to take care of our very real, very deadly, problem of sin. He has taken it on himself, being put to death. He, the innocent one, gave himself for us, the guilty ones, and endured the wrath of God against our sin. He then rose from the dead and is seated in the heavenly realms, planning to come back and claim his people to himself at the time known only to God.
Those are radical claims. They say that peace will only be found through trusting in God's work on our behalf, not in our own work. They say that security is something we could never create and that we would bungle if we tried it on our own.
Counter to the life of our world, then, we walk with one eye on the place we are and one eye on God's merciful provision of life for us. We live as creatures of the light, even in a dark and trying world. We dress ourselves in faith, love, and the hope of salvation. There is our security. There is our peace.
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