Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
For the glory of the times and seasons
For those who work seasonally
Here is a place where Paul’s emphasis on the righteousness of faith “hits the road.”
As he traveled through the Roman Empire, he saw lots of piety—lots and lots of piety. Plenty of people were taking plenty of actions to show whatever god they admired, feared—or from whom they simply needed a favor—that humans were doing their part, upholding their end of the bargain. Although to put it this way is being simplistic, there was a transactional quality in religious life that, over time, could lull people into taking things for granted. The religious action was the point, however it might satisfy the god at the other end.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had always disdained such “by the book” religious devotion. God was not interested in ceremony; he was interested in people! He was especially interested in how people gave themselves to powers that could not save, but only enslave. The entire Bible is a story of how God decided to do something about the problem of people.
So Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, comes telling those he meets of this admittedly peculiar God who used an especially peculiar plan to give to people what they cannot get for themselves: true freedom. “Don’t sleepwalk! Don’t go through the motions! Don’t drink yourselves into forgetfulness! Don’t mutter the same phrases over and over until you’re dull! Don’t pay attention to the rhythm of the calendar—pay attention to the signs of the times! Above all, practice what I’ve taught you and be ready!”
Easter joy ~ Pr. Dave Brooks