2 Timothy 1:1-14 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Thanksgiving and Encouragement
3 I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher,[a] 12 and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.[b] 13 Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
a 2 Timothy 1:11 Other ancient authorities add of the Gentiles
b 2 Timothy 1:12 Or what has been entrusted to me
I started researching 2 Timothy 1:1-14 on Tuesday, September 10, then continued on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Reflecting on this text on 9/11 gave me a sense of sadness for Paul being abandoned by his friends and family and the victims of 9/11 being abandoned by the nation. Paul wanting Timothy to visit him and keep his faith while continuing to preach the faith. When you are in a situation that you know death is imminent, I am sure that your faith starts to waver.
In Paul’s letter he praises Timothy’s mother and grandmother for the unwavering faith that they had instilled in him. Still Timothy questioned his ability to teach others of his strong faith. My mother and grandmother instilled my faith in God. This doesn’t mean that they, too, didn’t waver a little at times. Paul’s reinforcement of his faith in Timothy encouraged Timothy to pass on his faith in God.
My own faith has sometimes wavered because of the happenings in the world and the evil in people. I certainly can’t say that I am without evil. My actions are not always of a Christian, for which I am regretful. Trying to remain faithful and nurturing is difficult because of my own lack of faith sometimes in people, government, etc.
When the leaders of our country do things to keep children from receiving food or medicine, I waver. When immigrants are refused sanctuary in our country, I waver. When murders happen with such frequency, I waver. When our government continues to help the rich and ignore the poor, I waver. When legal rights are not granted to all people, I waver.
The reflections on this text are very stimulating to my mind and soul.
[Jackie Miller has been a member of Central for about 12 years and has served the church in many capacities.]
We come to faith through the witness and faithfulness of others. Paul credits his ancestors, faithful Jews who gave him a firm foundation. He reminds his beloved Timothy of those who passed along their faith to him. Women who nurtured and taught him about the One he was to follow.
From Generation to Generation we all inherit the gift of faith. Perhaps we know the name of those who showed us the grace of God. Maybe it’s simply the open door of a congregation that someone we never knew opened for us to enter.
Who nurtured you into faith? What is your calling in the migration of grace into the next generation?
This scripture reminds us that faith is a gift but not necessarily a given. It is a flame that needs fanning, rekindled if the spirit is to give light and warmth. The Disciples Women’s Quadrennial Assembly brought thousands of women together since the mid fifties to give women a place to explore their calling and claim their leadership at a time when that was not encouraged in church and society.
The theme of the 1998 Quadrennial was “Rekindle the Flame” based on this passage from Second Timothy. Musicians from across the church were invited to write and record music on the theme. One of the 14 musicians whose songs were accepted for the CD was our Pastor Linda with Patti Case and Julie Miller doing vocals. “You Stir the Coals” was inspired by Guatemalan indigenous women who awoke before dawn each morning to coax the coals of the previous day’s cooking fire back to flame. Used by permission.
“You stir the coals as daylight breaks.
Your breath inspires the flame.
You give us what we need to grow.
You call us by our name.
O Spirit, come with passion’s touch,
Our feeble flame ignite.
That all we are and do may be
Reflections of your light.
Too long have coals been lying still.
Too long our gifts have slept.
Our spirits weak from dreams denied
And promises unkept.
We’ve sought ourselves
In wealth and power
In others’ signs of worth,
Forgetting that we live
As your beloved on the earth.
We gather here from North and South;
from East and West we meet.
Invited to your Table, Lord
Where all may come to eat.
We’re lonely, grieving, naked, poor.
We come that we might live,
And offer now ourselves to you,
To take, bless, break and give.”
So what are we to do with this Flame?
By the grace of God we can be courageous, claim the power of love and use the discipline of heart and mind to bless others near and far.
[Claudia Ewing Grant has been a member at Central for 10+ years and has provided a lifetime of leadership and witness in the Church.]