God's Light, Our Darkness
John began his first epistle by reassuring us of the truth of the incarnation of Jesus, but also told us that because of the truth of the incarnation and resurrection we have fellowship with the Father and the Son and one another. It makes all of the sense in the world then that what John has to address next is that which breaks fellowship and what we do about it. Sin breaks fellowship and our temptations with sin is to downplay them, or to deny them, or to despair over. But thanks be to God is not a liar but deals is honest about sin and what has to be done with it. Jesus is the propitiation, the atonement for our sins. He turns away the wrath of God by the gift of his own life for us who break fellowship with him and others.
The Word of Life
Though we are not totally sure the exact circumstances which gave rise to the writing of 1 John, what is very evident is that some, even by the end of the apostolic era, had turned from the true faith. Maybe they had given up on Jesus altogether, at the very least they had given up on the idea of God in the flesh in Christ and all that that truth calls us to. Jesus is the Word of Life. He is not the esoteric word (logos) of the popular philosophy of the day, he is not a God to make in an image that suits our ideas. He is the one who came and because he came as God in the flesh he is the one, and the only one, who brings life. He is the Word of Life and through him we have fellowship with the Father and with one another.
God's Bounty for Us
School is upon us. That means Fall is right around the corner. The beginning of school and the beginning of fall present us with dueling thoughts and emotions. We are presented with the hope of a new year and the bounty of produce, but also the limitations of all that is demanded of us. We know that so much of our fear and our sin that comes out of that place of fear is connected to the idea of scarcity. Will we have what it takes to raise our kids well? Will we be able to be present to others? Will God provide? Psalm 65 is widely considered one of the great creation and harvest hymns. It tells us again and again of God's Bounty. And it isn't just his bounty that is held up in heaven is some heavenly safe, but it is here and for us. Psalm 65 tells us of his bounty in redemption, in creation and in preservation.
The Sudden Vindication of God
A lot of times it feels like things just don't go right. Maybe it is we ourselves that seem to be our own worst enemy, sometimes it's other people and sometimes it just seems like the world in general. And we sure wonder if God knows all about it. Maybe we think of him as Rowan Williams points out, as sort of a failing billionaire and we are trying to manage his estate and we wonder if he has any clue what is happening down here. Does he know how people plot? Does he know how they scheme? Does he know how bad things are sometimes and how we feel like we just aren't going to make it through? Does he know how deep and how dark the hearts of people can be? Psalm 64, like the Bible as a whole says time and time again, reassures us that he will. None of it is lost on him and he will act suddenly. When the time had fully come, he sent his son. And the Son, Jesus, tells us that he will come like a thief in the night. He will come. He will act. He will make all things right.
What Does the Worst Bring Out in You?
What do you do when the worst happens to you? What does the worst bring out in you? When you lose your job, or when your spouse criticised you for the 25th time today, or when your children decide you just are old and can therefore be dismissed as not knowing anything. What about when the tragic happens: when you have another miscarriage, when COVID sticks around and keeps sticking around? What do you do? What do you do with God? David has some of the worst things happen. His own son kicks him out and some of his closest, most trusted advisors leave him and plot against him. He's out in the wilderness, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually and relationally. As Gordy Zubrod asked us a few weeks back: Does it break you are remake you? Or, similarly, what Psalm 62 asks us: do we give up on God or do we long for him all the more? What do you do? What does the worst bring out in you?