Image by Anna L Conti via Flickr
This is part of a series of posts based on the Churches Together in England publication one light: one world. If you click on the link you will find the biblical texts. This post of the same name covers the purpose of this series.
1 Thessalonians 5: 13 - 25
This is the end of another letter and again a list of good advice. Presumably Paul intended to end the letter by being encouraging.
The aim is in verse 23 is sanctification. The mark of any Christian community is its growth in grace. We forget this when we affirm our own tradition as right. Even if our tradition has got it mostly right, we still need God's grace.
Verses 20 and 21 offer a clue. We are told not to despise the words of the prophets and then to test everything, affirming what is good and abstaining from evil. This is not to accept the words of the prophets at face value but to test their words and discern what they mean for us.
Surely this advice applies to unity as much as it does to anything else? What do we need to affirm as we seek greater unity and what do we need to abstain from?
Whatever the answer, the point is at the end of this passage. It is faithfulness, not losing sight of the vision that is Jesus Christ.