Take a deep breath right now.

Notice one thing you see,

one thing you hear,

one thing your body is touching.

You are here in this place. God is here with you, too.

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We always thank God for all of you when we mention you constantly in our prayers. This is because we remember your work that comes from faith, your effort that comes from love, and your perseverance that comes from hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

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Earlier this year, I took a pottery class — and I was terrible at “throwing” a pot on the wheel! I spent several classes just trying to make something that resembled a pot… and finally made one! Then another, and another. They say that “practice makes perfect.” Whether you’re learning to play a trombone, throw a baseball, do a pirouette, or make pottery, you’ll definitely need practice.

In today’s scripture, Paul is commending the Thessalonians for working so hard — for practicing — on becoming faithful, loving, and hopeful. He recognizes that it takes work to be faithful, continual effort to be loving, and perseverance to be hopeful. We also have to practice being faithful, loving, and hopeful. We may never be perfect (spoiler alert: we won’t be), but we know that God is present with us as we practice.

Erin Spengeman Hutchison

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God, just when I think I can’t be more faithful, loving, or hopeful, help me to keep practicing, relying on your Spirit for help. Amen.

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As you go, remember that God is with you and with those who do justice.

Dare to be with God, too.

Erin Spengeman Hutchison

Rev. Erin Spengeman Hutchison is a Baptist pastor and has worked with youth for nearly 20 years. She loves to preach, laugh, and listen to Bruce Springsteen. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and has a super cool husband, two awesome kids, and a crazy dog named Cricket.

Bid All Our Sad Divisions Cease

Nathan Hanson

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