- Day 1: II Thessalonians 1:1-4
- Day 2: II Thessalonians 1:5-12
- Day 3: II Thessalonians 2:1-12
- Day 4: II Thessalonians 2:13-17
- Day 5: II Thessalonians 3:1-5
- Day 6: II Thessalonians 3:6-15
- Day 7: II Thessalonians 3:16-18
Draw your church together, O God, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving in Christ’s mission to the world, and together witnessing to your love wherever you will send us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.(ELW 75)
There’s a verse in our reading for this week that when taken out of context works directly against the overall message of the text. That verse is 3:10b, “Anyone unwilling wor work should not eat.”
When taken out of context it sounds like Paul is saying that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. We see this idea in policies that some lawmakers try to push today. If you don’t work you don’t eat, you don’t get health insurance, and you don’t have a home. Because if you don’t work you don’t eat.
But that’s actually not what Paul is advocating for. This letter focuses on working for righteousness, not to be confused with with works righteousness. What’s really being said is that if you aren’t going to practice what you confess then you have no business being in the church. On the surface this sounds like it goes directly against what we belive as Lutherans. However, if we get past our initial reaction we realize that this idea is at the heart of who we are as Lutherans.
Luther may or may not have said, “If I knew the world would end today, I would still plant an apple tree.” Regardless of if Luther said this or not, I think it summarizes everything many of us love about being Lutheran.
We are so committed to working for righteousness that we would keep working even if we knew that Jesus would return and fix everything the next day. Even if we knew that tomorrow everyone would have enough food, we would still feed people today. And we wouldn’t do it to earn our own righteousness. We would do it because what else would we do? We aren’t going to sit by and wait for Jesus as people starve.
We won’t sit by as unrighteousness flourishes. We “stand firm and hold fast” to our tradition of planting apple trees so that we may all know righteousness.
1. What “apple tree” have you planted lately?
2. What “apple trees” have you seen planted in your community?
3. Reflect on the ways in which we as a society allow unrighteousness to flourish. Why do you think we are weary of doing good?
4.Do you think that there is a relationship between prayer and “apple trees?”