I am not a big beer guy. Not much of a small beer guy either. In fact, I have never actually consumed a beer. I have sipped a variety over the years, but of none of them did I think, “I’d like to taste more”. That reality was a little challenged recently when my family was in Germany. We visited some longtime friends of Beverly’s. They had something they said was a beer. It basically tasted like sprite with a little alcohol in it. I drank one. I don’t think that counts.
Then we went to a beer garden, just to experience this wonder of Munich. We, along with a few thousand of our closest friends, sat outside on a beautiful evening at picnic tables. And of course we consumed traditional light German fare: substantial chunks of sausage, pork, and the like. This was married to ample sauerkraut and other curious trimmings. All swimming in jus. And lest we forget where I started, there were also filled glass beer steins you could basically use as aquariums. One was a more standard beer taste of which a sip was plenty. But then the other tasted more like apple cider. I took a few swigs.
I hope you intuitively see where I am going here in this slightly more playful summertime Tuesday Notes. Tongue in cheek. In my message on Sunday I made reference to words of the early Christian Saint and Theologian Augustine. While familiar with some of his life and writings, in general I am not overly acquainted with the details of such saints. So very many of them unquestionably lived amazing and inspiring lives. And, it is worth noting, that most of them, over the years, somehow have risen to the level of being patron saints: that is where a saint is considered to be the protecting or guiding saint of a person, group or place. Well, you likely did not know that Augustine is considered the patron saint of printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities. But, wouldn’t you know, he is also the patron saint of brewers. Cub fans should be pleased that is not a capital “B.” So here you see how this all ties together. Almost.
On Sunday we continued to dig into our series on the letters to the Thessalonians. We looked at a passage that is assuring and comforting, but one in which it is also quite difficult to fully understanding what the apostle Paul was speaking about. In fact, that patron saint of brewers, Augustine, in his work “The City of God” was actually forced to concede, “I frankly confess I do not know what Paul means in this passage.“ So that should give us some permission to not be too ashamed when we are a bit cofounded as well. You can listen to it here…
While it may be confusing, the passage, that is, not my sermon of course, it is a wonderful text. And in it, Paul asserts many comforting and challenging things in this section of 2 Thessalonians (2:1-8). But Paul’s most critical assertion would be his assuring of believers that Christ is indeed returning, just as he said he would.
So whether to believers in Thessalonica or this church community, Paul reminds us that whether life is painful and weighing upon us, or feeling light and burden free, that we can be assured of and confident in God’s promises. Jesus is indeed returning to restore all things. The one true God is Lord over all things; the creator and sustainer of all things. Yes, even if we, like the believers in Thessalonica, are a bit confused at times about some things, we can know that our God longs to tenderly guide us to be faithful followers of an exceedingly more faithful God.