Scripture - 1 Thessalonians 2:1–12
What a difference age makes! I used to read Thessalonians, or for that matter any of the apostle Paul’s letters, trying to learn what Paul meant and hoping that I could apply it to my own behavior as a Christian. But thirty years later I find myself appreciating—more than the words of Paul per se—his attitude, the way he relates to his brothers and sisters. He has changed so much over the years. It is hard to believe that Paul, who was once the enemy of those who did not believe like him, can now be gentle “like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children” (v. 7).
What a transformation! From a persecutor, Paul has changed to a friend. Here is a person who thanks God for friends he has learned to embrace rather than a person who wants to eliminate other people. So there is hope: we can still change.
Time does make a difference, and the knowledge of the love of God as manifested in Jesus does transform lives. This knowledge does not grow overnight or in isolation; it needs a community.
It is no wonder that as we approach the coming of Christ again to our lives we think of friends and think of peace, and our hearts burst with hope and joy. Peace be unto you.
Jesus, come to my heart again as I think of friends and family. May the bonds of friendship be strengthened and our love cross the boundaries of language and culture, for we are all one in God’s love. Amen.
Elder Ana Inés Braulio, retired synod executive
of Puerto Rico, Carolina, Puerto Rico