All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (2Th 1:5 NIV)
The Thessalonians were discriminated against and persecuted by both Jews and Gentiles. The pagans were normally agreeable to acknowledge all religions as long as they too were tolerated as one of the many options in the pluralistic polytheism of that time. However faced by the exclusive intolerance of the Christian faith they objected and started to hound the Christians in what was to become one of the worst persecutions of the early Church. The Jews too initially accepted the Christian way as a Jewish sect – at least as long as the temple was in place and the Christians worshipped there too. Yet the Pauline clarification of “only by grace”, “only through Christ” and “only by faith” was offensive to the Jews. This opposition caused the conflict in Thessalonica. As the congregation sided more openly with St. Paul, the opposition became more and more aggressive. They tried to oppose him wherever he spread the saving gospel. They tried to destroy all Christian congregations and Church plantings by the apostle. The Christians were earnestly reprimanded to suffer willingly and not to resort to violence or any armed struggle, but rather to commit their lot to God, who judges righteously and does not neglect his people – even in the most severe affliction. Amen.
1 Christ is the world’s Redeemer, The lover of the pure, The fount of heav’nly wisdom, Our trust and hope secure, The armor of His soldiers, The Lord of earth and sky; Our health while we are living, Our life when we shall die.
2 Christ has our host surrounded With clouds of martyrs bright, Who wave their palms in triumph And fire us for the fight. This Christ the cross ascended To save a world undone, And, suff’ring for the sinful, Our full redemption won.
3 Glory to God the Father, The unbegotten One; All honor be to Jesus, His sole begotten Son, And to the Holy Spirit– The perfect Trinity. Let all the worlds give answer: Amen! So let it be. (Columba 521-597 tr Duncan MacGregor 1854-1923.)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Tuesday after the twenty sixth Sunday after the high holiday of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 399 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.