This week, one of the texts in the Revised Common Lectionary is the end of the First Letter to the Thessalonians. It includes theologically challenging imperatives like Rejoice Always, and Pray Without Ceasing, and the one that used to really throw a wrench in my optimistic, justice-seeking brain: Give Thanks in All Circumstances.
A few weeks ago, I got to hear Dr. Zan Holmes preach, and this text came up. And he said it so simply and so fully—“it is not give thanks FOR all circumstances, but IN all circumstances.” God is working in us, strengthening us and changing the world, and making all things new. And the status quo, the harm-bringers, the pain-causers, the empire-proppers, they’re going to fight back and make things rough to hold onto power. It means God is at work. It means the greater Love is winning. It means we still have work to do—thanks be to God.
Last Sunday was about cultivating patience by holding onto hope. This Sunday, we’ll continue on in Advent by seeking joy through resilience in God’s purposes—for us, for the world, for the Church, for all of it. And it will be something. I look forward to seeing you then.