Are we to change the world? Are we to live quiet lives of faithfulness? Or…? Returning to 1 Thessalonians, we encounter a short passage that emphasizes the importance of love within the community of faith, but has implications on our interactions with the world. These words guide us from love to engagement.
We live between the times: between the first coming of Christ and the future coming of Christ. It’s a hard place to be, because what we long for hasn’t been fully realized. But it’s also an exciting place to be, because what we long for has been partially realized. As we experience something of what we long for, we anticipate the coming day, but we also appreciate the present day in light of the coming day. In his two letters to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul references the future “coming” of Christ more than he does in all his other letters combined. Our study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians therefore will help us live—really live—in the present, between the times, leaning into the future.