Friday in the Fourth Week of Easter

Text: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

Prayer Pointers:

For the joy of freedom in the Son

For those tempted in weakness

For those tempted in their strength

The Thessalonian church is among Paul’s dearest, and there is clear love between him and the people there. Yet Paul is worried: he has reports that the mission church he has left behind in Thessaloniki is struggling. But there is good news! Timothy has come with a report that the faith and love of that parish continues.

However, we see that Paul’s concern is not completely gone. There is an odd verse—a question—where Paul asks the Thessalonians for guidance so that he can pray appropriately for them, because he still senses there is something lacking in their faith.

Most commentators have been puzzled by this verse and wonder what is weak in the Thessalonians that Paul would want to shore them up. But there is another possibility: that the Thessalonians are strong, and their very strength is becoming a problem. The way Paul phrases the question is suggestive—what thanksgiving can we raise to God? How can we glorify God, and in so doing supply what you really need?

We often talk of strengths and weaknesses and think that a key activity in human life is to shore up or overcome weakness. But our strengths are equally dangerous: those things at which we are best, like a towering tree or a mighty mountain, can cast a shadow, create a place of darkness that prevents us from seeing the truth about ourselves. It is for this reason that the Scriptures warn so much of the spiritual danger that the wealthy or the powerful face: their very strengths hid the need they have for God, make it less likely that they will call on the name of the Lord. At one point in their ministry, the disciples are dismayed that a particular demon resisted them, and Jesus wryly replies “this type can only be driven out by prayer.” Jesus is clear: it is not your power, but your willingness to go to your knees that will drive out a being that exists on the strength of its pride.

Easter joy ~ Pr. Dave Brooks


Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

824 N. Buchanan Blvd. 

Durham, NC 27701

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824 North Buchanan Blvd, Durham, NC 27701 | 919-682-6030  |

Mission Statement: We are called to Welcome Everyone to Walk the Way of GRACE, and walk in that way in our individual lives, in our shared life in our various communities, in our common life with our neighbors, and even to the world at large as God sends us. The Way of Grace is to: GROW with Jesus, REJOICE in God, ANSWER with hope, CARE for the neighbor, and EMBRACE community.

Vision Statement: God has a plan FOR OUR LIVES, and so we teach how to walk in the path of Jesus Christ; FOR OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, and so we work to build healthy and strong communities; FOR OUR CITY, and so we share life with our neighbors in Walltown, Trinity Park, Duke, and the Triangle; and FOR OUR WORLD, and so we go with Good News.

Core Values: Because God loves us first, we value worship rooted in Scripture and Sacraments, service to all people, and being a welcoming community that loves and forgives one another.