from Redeemer Pastor Jonathan Trapp
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I give thanks to my[a] God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5 for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— 6 just as the testimony of[b] Christ has been strengthened among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
In a year like 2020, it may sometimes seem difficult to give thanks, even though during this week we are offered the opportunity to set aside a day to do just that. (Happy Thanksgiving to you all, by the way). But in the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of having to reckon with centuries of institutional racism, in the midst of contemplating how to celebrate this holiday season away from our family it can be difficult to be thankful.
And I imagine that St Paul might have found it difficult to give thanks when he wrote to the church in Corinth after hearing of their conflicts and dilemmas. Yet, as we see in the second reading from the lectionary for this week, St Paul opens his letter by giving thanks. In the midst of turmoil, he gives thanks. And in giving thanks, St Paul is also assuring this community that they can get through this tough time. He reminds them that Christ has strengthened them so that they are not lacking for anything, but that Christ will strengthen them to the end.
Those were words that I needed to hear and maybe they are words that you need to hear, too. God has provided for us. In these trying times, God has equipped us with all that we need. Christ is working in each of us to sustain us, to help us sustain each other until we are able to gather again until we achieved peace and justice throughout the earth.
And my prayer for each of you is that you are able to see where God is still working. That you are able to see how God is still showing up. That you are able to feel the strength of Christ in your life.
Sustaining God, you have given us all that we need; you have given us spiritual gifts, you have given us your Son. As we watch and as we wait, help us to recognize your presence in our lives and help us to be your presence in the lives of others. Help us to find that hope that only you can provide. In Christ’s name, we pray, amen.