Great Plains Daily Devotional for 7/13/2019

Today please be in prayer for

Ashlee Alley Crawford
Clergy Recruitment and Development
Blue River District
Karen Jeffcoat
Registrar - Board of Ordained Ministry
Blue River District
Nicole Guthrie
Administrative Assistant to Clergy Recruitment and Registrar
Topeka District
Todd Seifert
Director of Communications
Topeka District

Today's Lectionary Text

John 3:16-21 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Today's Devotional

This is the quintessential “yabbut” passage. “Yabbut” is one of those encounters that make us react “yeah, but …” And here it catches us in the tension between “yeah, God loves the whole world -- but judgement!” For some reason we are much more compelled by the idea of God’s quick jump to judgement than by the concept that God’s love stands above everything. In the 16th verse, various English translations use the words “whosever, whover, everyone, and more.” They are unconditional words of inclusion. Whoever believes (with belief left unspecified) isn’t judged. Yabbut! Then why spend the next paragraph talking about judgement? 

We get giddy defining things like belief, what is light or shadow, determining who loves or hates whatever. We want to be in charge. The heart of this most-beloved piece of scripture sets us up and says to us, “Yabbut!” Yeah, but you aren’t the ones who get to determine all that. Following Christ means that the love of Christ gets to determine all of that. It is up to us to live in the enfolding embrace of Christ’s love and welcome whosoever, whoever, and everyone. Christ is present in our world that all the world might be saved: no ifs, ands, or yabbuts.

Rev. Doyle Burbank-Williams
New Visions UMC, Lincoln

dburbank@greatplainsumc.org
 

Prayer for Reflection

Holy One, help us allow you to tend the work that is yours to do, to extend the welcome you seek to extend, and to offer salvation on whatever basis you determine. Open our hearts to be the ones who follow Christ in this world, doing the loving deeds that show you among us still. Amen.

 

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