Paul writes about “constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). He remembers who the Thessalonians are, how they came to the faith, and how far they’ve come. He remembers their courage, their joy, their generosity. Paul believes in them, giving them energy and imagination to live out this new life in Jesus. What is central is the “labor of love” – labor, a word that in Greek doesn’t imply physical work as much as it does “going to a good deal of trouble.”
That’s because love is less like work and more like paying attention – seeing, listening, remembering, and telling. Love is less like fixing and more like fixation. When my son, Ozzie, was a baby, and his twin siblings were almost 3, Ozzie was always watching them and trying to imitate them. In fact, mimesis, or “imitate,” is the word Paul uses to describe the Thessalonians’ faith, love, and hope.
This message is excerpted from “A letter in the mail” by Mihee Kim-Kort in the July/August 2021 Gather magazine.
If you enjoy this resource, Donate Now.