Psalm(s): 18:1-20
Old Testament: Isaiah 2:12-22
New Testament: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

This morning on my way to the Cathedral, I bumped into a friend whose Mom is facing terminal cancer. Despite the stress of family drama, the pressures of school, and the general busy-ness of life, my friend seemed in very good spirits, and relieved that the arduous task of filling out grad-school applications is now behind her 😀

Our conversation didn’t last long, as we were both stopping to refuel at the local Tim Hortons…but something struck me as I read the passage from 1 Thessalonians this morning:

Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we decided to be left alone in Athens; and we sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith….Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. (v. 3:1; 3:6)

Paul wanted to visit the Church in Thessolonica in order to build them up and encourage them in the midst of persecution and suffering….but he couldn’t.

Not everyone was a fan of the Message that Paul was spreading. As a result, Paul was usually forced to skip stops on his tour of the seven churches that he helped to found. If he didn’t change his route, there was a pretty good chance that he would be killed…not exactly a desired scenario if you want to stay alive to tell people the Good News about Christ.

Although he could not be there physically, Paul prays for the people of Thessolonica night and day. knowing with confidence that they remember [him] kindly, and long to see [him]

As I read this I was reminded of a quote from an episode of Modern Family, where Ed O’Neil’s character exclaims: “ 90% of being a dad is just showing up”….

I think there’s a lot of truth to that in friendships, in relationships, in prayer……almost in every aspect of life.

There is nothing–for right now at least–that I can physically do for my friend or her family as they face cancer together….but I can offer a ministry of presence and prayer.

Don’t get me wrong… someone who struggles with laziness daily, I know there is more to living the faith life than thinking positive thoughts, and offering prayers on another’s behalf. After all….faith without works is dead.

That said, I think there is a time and place for simply being there for a friend, a family member, and even a stranger.

Being present for someone doesn’t always mean being physically present. Sometimes just knowing that someone is remembering you and praying for you can be enough.+