12My friends, we ask you to be thoughtful of your leaders who work hard and tell you how to live for the Lord. 13Show them great respect and love because of their work. Try to get along with each other. 14My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn't living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone. 15Don't be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else.
16Always be joyful 17and never stop praying. 18Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.
19Don't turn away God's Spirit 20or ignore prophecies. 21Put everything to the test. Accept what is good 22and don't have anything to do with evil.
23I pray that God, who gives peace, will make you completely holy. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept healthy and faultless until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 24The one who chose you can be trusted, and he will do this.
25Friends, please pray for us.
26Give the Lord's followers a warm greeting.
27In the name of the Lord I beg you to read this letter to all his followers.
28I pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you!
So now we’re at the last paragraph, the Coda, the Postscript. One can imagine Paul running out of papyrus or ink now, and cramming in his final list of important things to remember and get across before he has to escape from a mob or dash off to a secret rendezvous. There’s a sense of haste in this ending, and the better part of twenty exhortations. If he’d had the technology, he’d probably have bulleted a list.
So here and now… in the meantime…while we are waiting for the When…let’s get on with being a truly good Christian community of Christian faith.
Much of that “getting on” is practical and down to earth. We should work and not sponge off each other; we should be patient with each other, and not try to get our own back if someone slights us.
Then much of that “getting on’” is about the spiritual side of life; we should pray constantly, rejoice constantly, and be open to the unprogrammed work of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, in light of the fact that this whole letter has been grounded in an exploration of the second coming of Christ, Paul blesses his readers with the peace of God and then assures them that this same God will keep them blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus. For God is faithful to himself, faithful to his Word, and – incredibly – faithful to us.
At the end of this letter, intrigued and possibly bothered by its constant reference to the second coming of Christ, we remember that as with all prophetic inspiration what is said is more important than how it’s said, and what is to be done is more important than how it’s going to be done.
Oh dear Lord God of Peace, come to us. Come upon us. Come around us. Keep us whole and holy and blameless at the coming of your Son. Ground us, and all whom we love, in your faithfulness, as we say our AMEN to your determination to complete what you have begun, in us and in the world.