Bang, bang, bang… Is that Santa on the roof, or St. Paul?

St. Paul is writing to one of the Churches he founded. He’s rattling off a whole bunch of instructions in short order at the very end of his letter:

Keep awake and be sober. Encourage one another. Build one another up. Respect those who labor among you. Be at peace among yourselves. Admonish idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. Do not repay evil for evil. Always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always. Pray constantly. Give thanks in all circumstances. Do not quench the Spirit. Test everything. Hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

Paul is literally banging out instructions. If he had a typewriter, we could hear him pounding the message home.

During this time of preparation we need to hear Paul’s message and to share it.

These instructions are not just wise sayings, good things to live by, or smart. They are urgent and necessary for us in our relationships with each other, our Church, and the world. They are the foundation for our journey to heaven.

Jesus’ coming changed life from a series of misfortunes and mishaps that ended in the emptiness of death to a path of holiness, righteousness, and faith that ends in eternal joy.

As we hear the doorbells ring and the guests knock, let us remember Paul banging away at these instructions. Paul ends by blessing us for following these instructions:

May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ coming is near. Let us renew ourselves so that we may be part of the joy that is forever.

May our Lord bless you and yours,

Deacon Jim