Below is today's repost from the Advent Devotionals I've been putting up here. There are some good thoughts to be found, but the main thrust of the devotional refers you to get online and listen to some sermons which expand the idea. I haven't listened to those sermons, but the link is still there, you'll have to copy it into your address bar, because the link doesn't work.
I would add this to your reading: what can you do to strengthen your relationships with your church family? Not just your local one, but with believers everywhere? How can you help them grow? That will be a continued part of our conversation in the months to come...
Today's devotion from Goshen College:
DEC. 11 - A LETTER FROM THE GLOBAL CHURCH
By Greg Yoder, a senior music major from Perkasie, Pa.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (NRSV) Scroll down for complete Scripture.
This passage from Paul's first letter to the church of the Thessalonians is nothing if not encouraging. Paul writes to this new and developing church, encouraging them in their faith. "Be joyful always; pray continually."
In the first centuries, the church was an international fellowship; distant congregations supported and encouraged one another in letters similar to this one from the pen of Paul. Today, the church is again a global family; our brothers and sisters in the global south are growing in number and in vibrancy.
Recently I have had the opportunity and privilege to read the writings of some of the leaders in these churches, and I find their words encouraging, a true testament to the light that is the good news of Jesus the Christ. Bishop Danisa Ndlovu of Zimbabwe (president-elect of Mennonite World Conference) speaks of worship in a sermon entitled "Worship Christ in the Nations," and he says, "Worship is active, to reach out, to meet the needs of others."
Ndlovu's words testify to the light of Jesus, especially as he continues. "There is pain in worship...Those that God calls must rejoice in the pain of reaching out to others."
Life with Jesus may not always be easy or happy, but it will be filled with joy.
During this Advent season, let us pray continually for our brothers and sisters in faith, around the world and in our own communities. Let our reaching out be an active worship, and should we find it painful, let us reach out joyfully, testifying to the Light.
To read and hear more from Bishop Danisa Ndlovu and other leaders in the global Mennonite church, visit: http://www.mwc-cmm.org
SCRIPTURE: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (NRSV) Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
View all of this season's devotions at http://www.goshen.edu/devotions
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