As the apostle Paul writes this letter, he gives thanks for these Ephesian disciples who were at a distance from him. He is unable to be with them at this moment, yet the thought of their faith is an inspiration and encouragement to him. He remembers them and prays.
Paul cannot be face to face with his Ephesian friends to directly witness the strength of their faith or hear the personal stories of how the Holy Spirit has moved among them. He relies on reports from others and limited messages that arrive ever so slowly. Yet, Paul remains connected with them through their mutual acts of faith: prayer, worship, and service to others. Together, they are part of the one Body of Christ, a supernatural bond of unity among believers for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
This is how it is for all of us now. We are unable to be in person with one another as a faith community. We are unable to be with family and friends to share our faith, even as we share a Thanksgiving meal. We remember one another and pray. We are inspired by the faith of others, even from a distance.
Who are the loved ones of faith you long to see and hug this Thanksgiving? God knows you are remembering their faith. He hears your prayers of thanks for them. He receives and responds to the cacophony of prayers lifted by his people in this very odd season. Do not cease praying, even as you may feel lonely and discouraged. We are one people and not alone.
Pastor Dan and I have not seen many of you in person for months. When I notice your name among the list of those attending virtual worship or see your face in a Zoom square at one of our discipleship or congregation meetings, I rejoice! God has blessed us to be part of the Body of Christ together in this little corner of Howard County. For that I am grateful. I pray with thanks and ask God that you are reassured regardless of what is going on in this world, Christ is forever our King.