Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Bethany Bullet - May 1, 2012

The Walk is traveled by steps taken in LOVE.  The 3rd chapter of John’s 1st epistle covers the same material as the 3rd chapter of his Gospel: God’s love.   In the Gospel, he declares that it was God’s love that propelled Him to send His Son.  Here in John’s epistle he reminds us that out of love, “Jesus laid down His life for us.”  For John, Christ’s sacrifice and God’s love are intrinsically linked.  Love literally is our:  

Jesus denied Himself and suffered death, even death on a cross.  John had earlier told us that denying sin just makes of guiltier of the same.  In honesty, we can confess that our very nature is bent toward self-promotion, self-adulation, self-protection, and self-validation not self-denial.  From the way we spend our time and our dimes, self-denial is not natural.  Both our contemplations and conversations reveal an accurate diagnosis that self denial is not our common course.  Perhaps the best example of humanities inward bent was found in our brother Cain.  John, in vs. 12, tells us to not be like him.   Cain was forlorn over the fact that his offering wasn’t valued like Abel’s. Fearing he had been bested by his brother and fuming that his offering had been banned by His creator; Cain slew his sibling.  The polar opposite of Godly love is the picture that Cain presents as it is the most crystal clear image of self-love ever given.  His was a love that sought to get rather than to give:  how often is ours the same?  How often do we love seeking to get attention, to get even, to get personal affirmation, or public promotion?  True love will: Loath, Obsequious, Vain, Exploits.  (Obsequious here is used to imply self-fawning or sycophantic.)  True Love seeks not its own way but the blessing of other(s):

Rather than looking for applause and gain, to be given standing O’s and constant kudos - LOVE doesn’t look inward and doesn’t worry about self.  But LOVE looks to, at, and out for others.  That means that LOVE doesn’t see others as they are, it doesn’t even see them as better than they are.  LOVE seeks to see Jesus in those before us.  Love: Lauds, Others, Vis-a-vis, Emmanuel.  (To Laud means to esteem, extol or praise and vis-a-vis literally means face to face.)  So to Laud, Others, vis-à-vis, Emmanuel simply means to see in the face of others the face of our Lord, who is Emmanuel, God with us.  One of the ways He is with us: He is in those who are with us, our brothers and sisters in the faith. So serving them as if we were serving Him is LOVE

How might that change the way you picked up your bedroom if it were Jesus asking to give it a clean?  How might that change the way you think of the boss if it were Jesus sitting behind the big desk or the teacher if it were Jesus assigning the homework?  How might that change the way you respond to the inconvenient request of an individual or the congregational request of the communal if it were Jesus making the request?

Rather than the world’s definition that thinks of love as a stirring emotion or physical connection, John grants us a picture of love that is a vivid expression of our faith in Christ who is love incarnate.  Beloved we know what love is…
It is a Loathing of Obsequious Vain Exploits and a Lauding Others Vis-a-vis Emmanuel based upon the Lord’s Own Voluntary Execution. 
So beloved, let us love one another.
 -Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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