November 13, 2022

C51: The Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C (2022)

Carla Pratt Keyes

“It amuses me to see that the word ‘busybodies’ shows up in the Bible at all! It’s such a funny word…makes you wonder what sort of trouble a first century busybody would create,” says Carla Pratt Keyes, pastor of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia. She continues, “I tell you what, though: this is the kind of text you want to read without making eye contact with anyone in the church, lest they take it personally. The whole passage has a scolding tone…It just goes to show, even the earliest congregations had their share of disagreements.” Today’s text, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, discusses work and idleness in the congregational community. Keyes points out that the text does not address those who for whatever reason cannot work and it does not “suggest an early form of the protestant work ethic.” This letter, and Keyes’ sermon, instead, encourages us to discern our motivations for the things we are doing. Are we ‘busybodies’ or are we willingly serving our siblings in Christ, “not because we must, but because we can?” How can our daily choices reflect our desire to “be a part of God’s kingdom coming?”

Manuscript available: click HERE