In Memory of Martin Luther King Day: In Spite of Persecution You Received the Word with Joy – 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Matt Herron Selma-Montgomery, Alabama 3/21/1965March leaders (wearing leis) prepare to leave Selma at the start of the third march. From left to right: John Lewis, a nun, Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King, Ralph Bunche, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silence bringing your attention to the Breath.
  • Today is a new beginning.
  • Today is a new beginning for the church.
  • Hear the good news proclaimed, the hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Yet, there are those in your circles of influence who persecute in the name of God and tempt you to return to other idols.
  • Remember anew why you turn to God in Christ.
  • Remember anew the hope you carry.
  • Remember anew the vision of a world at peace.
  • Remember anew the love within.
  • What is your message from God?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

As we remember Dr. King today, can you see the dream?  Be the dream.

With a grateful heart,

Lil

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings.  (c) 2020 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD

Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX.  Upon completion of her spiritual direction training, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time.  Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within.  It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well.  So she began to share them on this site.

As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance.  If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do.  Keep wrestling.  God is faithful to your journey.  Love and hope will emerge.  Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.

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