This is how you pronounce the Greek word used 62 times in the New Testament which is translated by many into the phrase "dearly beloved." It's repeated usage, especially in the letters of early Christian leaders like Paul, John and Peter, suggests it may have become a term of endearment when referring to brothers and sisters in Christ -the new family of faith formed around Jesus- the church.
The self-giving sacrifice of God's own life and blood placed an enormous value on the people of God, purchased and forgiven by Jesus at the cross. Truly, every follower of Jesus is dearly beloved.
Each week, one of our pastors writes a note to you here entitled "Dearly Beloved." This is in recognition of the love of Jesus for you. This is also because we love you, dearly.
This week my own devotional reading arrived in the book of 1 Thessalonians. As Paul writes to this newly formed faith-family of ragtag Jewish and pagan converts, there is an ongoing tone of love and gratitude for them. In 2.8 he refers to them as "dearly beloved" and he opens the letter to them in 1.2 with the words, "we always thank God for all of you."
This is the first week of October. A week when we approach Thanksgiving. A week that reminds Laura and I that we are now 3 years into our journey of serving as your Lead Pastors. What a privilege!
As I was driving off the grid on a fishing trip earlier in the season, I was overwhelmed with thanks (again) for you. You are wonderful people. You are loving. You are genuinely caring. Your passion for Jesus is growing and growing. You are concerned about those who don't know Jesus yet. You love to help. You love to give. You are generous. You are hospitable and welcoming. You love to celebrate what God is doing in the lives of others. You are prayerfully supportive. You are diverse. You have stunning stories of Jesus at work in your lives.
You are dearly beloved!
We are thankful for you!
Isn't it amazing what only Jesus can do in people's lives? Imagine what it could be like as His love continues to extend through you, reaching and welcoming more lives, here in the Comox Valley, into our family of faith.
Pastors Mike & Laura