Today is a new beginning with our readings. We “turn the page,” literally. The Psalter resets and begins with Psalm 1. We begin the book of Daniel, as well as 1 John. And so there are a lot of shifts of theme, structure, and style.
I felt particularly drawn to 1 John this morning, although I am not sure why. This letter of John is one of the few books in the Bible to declare its own purpose. “We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” And again: “We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us.”
One of the central themes is that God is light and “in him there is no darkness at all.” Between the difficulties of life, yesterday’s Thunder loss, and this stormy time for FPCOKC with the proposed budget cutbacks, some may be feeling a sense of sadness or disappointment. (I know because so many of you have called me and shared those feelings. Trust me, I feel sad too.) But God turns the page, and the reminder comes to us in 1 John that in God there is no darkness at all.
He then proceeds to discuss the confession of sins, obeying God’s word in love, and assurances that sins are forgiven.
1 John knows about human relationships. It is understood that relationships are hard and one central features of right relationships centers around humility and confessing one’s wrongs. Being right with God and with others means moving away from pig-headedness and stubbornness, and being able to admit one’s failures. And how true this is!
Compromise and understanding seem to be at a premium these days. I see a lot of relationships whose central features are power, authority, and bullish behavior. I have seen my fair share of that through years of consultant work.
My hope and prayer is that all of us come to understand compromise, forgiveness, humility, and love in new and powerful ways.
I am not saying 1 John is going to be the magical cure for that understanding, but it might be a good prescription to get one started. Perhaps you might take the 5 chapters of 1 John and choose to use them as a devotional guide with your partner/spouse, praying together sections at a time and discussing and confessing along the way. Or perhaps you might take those chapters to a small group study, and offer them to be studied next.
Perhaps you will, like me, meditate on them in the morning light, and pray silently to God for new ways to see God more truly and mend the brokenness of your own life.
Whatever you do, know that God will walk with you and abide with you, sharing his light along the journey, for in him there is no darkness at all.