For ancient Israel, a return to the desert and to the exodus experience was understood as a time of renewal, healing, and communion with God. We have no similar image in our culture, except for those who go deep into the natural world and experience such things. Often here in Colorado, that means the mountains, which give us this sense of vastation and communion. Tolkien also writes about this in his essay “On Faerie Tales”.Just another thought on that first readings.

St. Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians has two separate points. First, the co-indwelling of God in us and us in God. Abiding is a good translation in the sense of visitation, union, and communion. We have community with God.

The second point is Paul’s typical response to the coming of the Lord. He uses the word, “our assembling with him.” The word is not the expected “ecclesia” but rather evokes “synagogue”, and in the Eastern Churches, “Synaxis”, which typically names the “Eucharistic Liturgy.”

The final verse sounds like the fake news culture of today on the internet that has permeated our lives, and we find ourselves often confused and no longer sure what to believe. Paul would tell us not to be alarmed, but rather in community, in the Lord, we can hold fast to the truth.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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