Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday in Advent 2

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
Vv. 16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I find these words at the same time comforting and daunting. They comfort in that they are something to aspire to, and they are "the will of God." They are daunting because I have never been able to get there. Always--without ceasing--in all circumstances. No matter how hard I try it just doesn't happen.

I think Paul would say, "Of course not." Our job is not to do these things, but to embrace that they are already being done in and through us. He will say as much in his letter to the Romans (8:26): Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

Is it good for us to be joyful, grateful and praying always as much as we can? Absolutely. But even better for us to tap into the core of joy and gratitude and prayer that is God's life in us. That fire burns no matter what the circumstances of our lives.

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