Delighting in our gifts and perceiving the beauty in other human beings (and indeed in all creation!) may be just what we need right now as a long 2020 starts to draw to a close.
All of this might be easier if we pay heed to our reading from 1 Thessalonians this weekend. This letter is written in the context of end-time waiting, the period between resurrection and fulfillment. Here, Paul seeks to provide comfort and assurance to the early church as they struggle to discern the best way to use all that God has given them. These members of the Body of Christ in Thessalonica are reminded that they are all “children of the day,” baptized sisters and brothers together. They are those who have collectively died to darkness in the waters of life, and now have the chance to live into a life of “faith and love,” “hope,” and “salvation.” Reassured that God does not desire anger for them, they are encouraged to “keep awake and be sober” (echoing the final words of last week’s apocalyptic Gospel passage).
The Thessalonians are beckoned to continue in their good work of encouraging and building up each other in the faith. And they are not to be anxious. Because, for them, the new life of liberation has already begun. Nothing can come upon them “like a thief.” Baptism has confirmed their gifts and talents for the sake of the Good News.