Get ready! For what?

God is here, ready for an encounter with you and me, ready to remind us of who we are: God’s people.

It is a noisy world, however, and the call to remember often gets lost in the hubbub around us and within us. God is present in the noise, but we often forget, lose sight, drift off…

Across Scripture and through the long history of the Church, people have searched out quiet and stillness to get ready for God.

Pause a moment today. Take time to be still, to get ready.

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For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

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Telling fish tales, as they call it, is the tendency of fishermen to exaggerate the size of the fish they caught (and especially the ones that got away). Do you ever exaggerate to emphasize a point or spice up a story? “Our team destroyed our rivals last night!” “I ate, like, a thousand cookies today.” “That song is literally the worst.”

Today’s passage is a curious one. Paul’s description of the people rising up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air probably sounded incredible — even unimaginable — to the people of Thessalonica who read his letter. Maybe they thought he was telling them a fish tale.

He wrote these words, though, to encourage the people of Thessalonica. After talking about the quiet mystery of death, Paul wants us to know that he believes in a more magnificent mystery. In the end, all those who have died and lived in Christ will be gathered in the fullness of salvation with the sound of trumpets and wonder! “And so we will be with the Lord forever.” This is encouragement for us, too.

Jonathan Chesney

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Almighty God, thank you that whatever hopes I might have for my life in you, in your power it will be more than I can ask or imagine. Please give me the joy and confidence to live out that belief. Amen.

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Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who journey the way with us.

So be swift to love and make haste to be kind.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, and remain with us always.

Jonathan Chesney

Jonathan Chesney is the Assistant to the Rector at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Auburn, Alabama. He graduated from seminary last May, is currently serving as a transitional deacon, and, God willing and the people consenting, will be ordained a priest in December!

Teach Me to Stop and Listen

Ken Medema

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