We’re nearly at the end of our trip through the E100 readings, and so this last week I was speaking on the letter from John to the churches- one of the small books at the back of the Bible that are often missed out… its a gem, and well worth the read if you can find it. Anyway, I was speaking about part of chapter 3 in John’s first letter- 1 John 3, verses 11-24:
As the seasons change, and we find ourselves most definitely in autumn rather than at the tail end of a nicely extended late summer, all sorts of other things change too- the clothing you instinctively grab for as you head out the door, the hopes for what you might do in that free half hour (or what jobs you might realistically get done). And sometimes we regret the passing of the seasons- maybe because there’s some uncertainty about the change (will this be a wet or cold autumn?), maybe because it reminds us of the passing of time in our own lives, maybe because of things in our own lives- as a teenager I was often unimpressed by the start of the summer term as it meant exams were impending, the summer that lay ahead would probably disappoint, and most of all, that the winter and any chance of seeing snow or going skiing were at their most distant…
But it is the nature of things to change. At least, it is in the nature of most things to change. Its not in the nature of God to change- God is the same yesterday, today and forever. If we prove unfaithful to God, he will remain faithful- to us and to himself, for he does not change. Over the last 19 weeks the E100 readings- our daily Bible readings have taken us through the great story of the Bible, of God’s creative heart, of humanities self-destructive and selfish impulses, of God’s constant, unchanging intention to bring reconciliation, and now we’re nearly at the end. During this next week we’re going to be reading some passages from Revelation (but Bishop Robert isn’t preaching on that next weekend), but today we’ve heard from one of John’s letters- from John who was the disciple ‘that Jesus loved’ we hear about Jesus’ command to love.
Love one another
In doing so we pass from death to life
In beginning to love something phenomenal happens
What does it mean to love one another? To put the wishes of others before ourselves… and for them to do the same… (the slowest thing on four legs… 2 christians by a narrow door).
What is love? Laying down something for someone else- Jesus laid down his life for us… us being prepared to give up our material possessions, to hold loosely onto our money or our toys, our love is something that is shown in action, not just words. Love leads people to be part of Street Pastors, or CAP…
If our hearts condemn us- if we hear the inner voice saying that we don’t love, or don’t want to love, or aren’t worth loving, or that no one loves us… whichever of those lies we hear… are we showing love in action, are we allowing others to love us?
If we make the first step to love one another, then we start to live as part of the body of Christ, and he starts to live in us- that is, the Holy Spirit comes into us in a greater way… we all know that when we do things to help others we feel better in ourselves… and when we do it in God’s name the outcome is all the better. Whether the offer of love is accepted or rejected is beside the point- we have loved, and in doing so have shown Christ, and come closer to Christ. For to follow Christ is to change, and to be changed, so that we are more like him. To love is to change, and to be changed in the process. To commit to something or someone is to allow it to come close to us, to change us.
We may be uncertain about these things, be uncertain about change and about growing in Christ… but the truth is that just as the seasons change, so we change… the only question is whether we wish to change to become more like Christ, or less so…
that’s 3 posts in 3 days… either I’m being more efficient, I’ve less to do, or I’m avoiding other things by hiding on the internet- you decide!