Saturday, January 5, 2019

Love Letters

Beloved: This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One and slaughtered his brother.  Why did he slaughter him?  Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous.  Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.  

We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. Whoever does not love remains in death.  Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him. 

The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him?  Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.

This first letter from John is powerful, and it speaks for itself.  It was written around the year 100.  It is similar to the Gospel of John but likely was not written by the author of that Gospel.  The author affirmed the full humanity of Jesus as the incarnation of God’s love, according to Marcus Borg in his book Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written (2012).

Borg noted: “…Only in this letter is the term [antichrist] used; it does not appear in Revelation or any other New Testament document.  Here it means denying that Jesus is the Messiah and denying ‘the Father and the Son,” denying that Jesus came ‘in the flesh,’ and that he came ‘by water and blood.” 

I suspect most of us are surprised by “antichrist” occurring only in this letter.    Letter writing is a powerful tool for communication.  It was then; perhaps not so much now with letter writing almost being a dead art.    Most of us would rather tweet and text.     Such a shame.   Have we written any love letters lately?

Deacon David Pierce

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