2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NRSV Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.
It was in high school that I first began to practice meditation and prayer. One of my favorite and recurring prayers is one I still say repeatedly to myself during church, and during quiet times in my daily life. It is simply: “Lord, grant me the strength and courage to love and serve you, with gladness and singleness of heart.”
Those of you familiar with the Episcopal or Anglican tradition will recognize this as an adapted excerpt from the post-communion prayer. It is a simple and beautiful prayer that reminds us our walk with Christ may not be easy – almost certainly will not be easy – but that God will give us the strength and courage we need for each step.
But, we are not meant to simply be passive recipients of God’s gifts. We are called into relationship with God, to walk in the Spirit, and to unlock the strength and courage God placed within us before we took physical shape.
We do this by actively living Christ’s command to love God and love our neighbor. Paul tells us we are encouraged and strengthened “in every good work and word.” When we actively show love to our neighbor – and thus to God – we unlock our unlimited potential in the strength of the Almighty.
Our “eternal comfort and good hope” is given by grace. We choose to accept that gift, and to unlock the power of the Spirit within, when we freely share God’s gifts with God’s children. It is in the act of love that we accept what has, by grace, already been given.
Lord, let us love you, and let us love you expressed in our neighbor, with our whole heart. In your love, may we fully accept your grace, and live in the boundless strength and courage that comes of being one with you. Amen.