Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

September 25, 2020

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

Those are the words of the Apostle Paul, but you may not be familiar with the reference. That's 1 Corinthians 16:13 & 14 - from the very end of Paul's first letter to Christ followers in Corinth. It's a strong and loaded letter, written to call out problems in the Corinthian church, to offer some solutions, and to challenge believers about living for Christ in a corrupt culture. And it's a long letter - 16 chapters in our English translations. 16:13 & 14 is sort of Paul's last words...summary words, like those a mom might say in an email to a child away at college: "Be aware of your surroundings, stay committed to Christ, you're capable of earing your degree, and remember to wash your sheets once in awhile!" Like a mom blurting out final comments at the end of a phone call or at the end of an email, Paul's words are a final blurb to sum up his letter.

I share them with you today because I've been in a lot of conversations this week where I've been asked to give advice and feedback. I've tried to be an encourager. I've tried to be hopeful with several of you. There's a lot of anxious people in our world right now; Covid isn't going away, tensions are high in homes, the energy sector's still hurting, the the nation to the south of us is a mess, and winter's coming (sorry!). What do we need right now? Maybe a summary blast of encouragement like 1 Corinthians 16: 13 & 14. Here's my paraphrase: "Be watchful. Be wary. Be wise. Find confidence and hope in your faith. When you're anxious, find courage and strength in the knowledge that you are the child of a God who knows you and loves you. And in every moment of decision, a great question to ask is this: What does love require of me?"

I'm praying for our church, community and world. Thank you for being part of a vibrant community of faith. Please keep looking after yourself and each other. I hope you'll be with us online or in-person this weekend as we worship together and experience Part 2 of the series "Living Life Backward: The Book of Ecclesiastes."