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Alumni Lectures: Final Reflections, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Thursday was the last day of the Tipple-Vosburgh lectures at Drew, and Rev. Dr. Traci West, my favorite professor, gave the sermon at the closing worship, focusing on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8. This is a text that has a special place in my heart, since it was the text for my senior sermon there at Drew three years ago!

Dr. West focused in on the first verse, where Paul says, "we know our coming to you has not been in vain." She said she felt like Paul was trying, a little bit, to convince himself. She suspects, she said, that we all do that in our ministries - we wonder, we hope and pray that the work that we've done has not been in vain.

She also focused on Paul's proclamation: "For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery." She wondered why Paul would need to make this claim, unless others had been proclaiming to the Thessalonians with less than honest intentions.

Dr. West urged us to look for places in the world where the gospel is proclaimed with some "tricky discrimantory twist." And she urged us to see that as we prepared to gather at the communion table, that it was at that table that we could bring all the bad that we experience, but also ourselves, our very selves to the table. "This is the place, this is the table to bring your real selves to," she said.

I always feel inspired by Dr. West's preaching. One of my friends commented that Dr. West's preaching makes her feel "too inspired" - a good compliment!

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