Today's Lectionary Text
1 John 4:7-21
Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.
Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us and we remain in God. We have known and have
Those who claim to love God, ought to love their brother and sister also. (v.21). Bear with me on my line of thought for today.
Love – not a word I throw out a lot, hardly at all. Oh, I love people, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t say it. I know too many people who claim to love others, only to use them and throw them away like a used paper towel. When it comes to love I just think action is better than the words.
When looking at this passage for the devotion, I decided to go to the experts on definitions, Merriam-Webster. One of their definitions of love is “concern for the good of another”. That’s a definition I can live with! For me, “concern for the good of another”, implies action.
To continue to break this passage down, I decided to stay with Merriam-Webster for two more definitions: “claim” – affirm, declare, profess. I believe that if one truly loves God, there is no need to “claim” via affirmation, declaration, or professing. Love for God will be a beautiful sign of how life is lived to the fullest.
The second word is “ought” – used to express obligation, natural expectation. “Ought” can also mean – you need to, you should, you are advised to. When I think of racism, whether to wear a mask or not, how far to distance, equal rights and standards for all people, something in my soul defines “ought” for a lot of individuals, as the second set of definitions - you need to, you should, you are advised to. I make a lot of mistakes in living life, I miss the mark too many times, yet “ought” in the Tapley household meant that we worked and worked until “ought” became a natural expectation to our parents.
I wonder how different 2020 would have been if every single person in the Great Plains United Methodist Conference would have lived life so that our love for God would have been declared and professed in everything we did? I also wonder what 2020 would have been like if our life’s definition would have been a natural expectation.
Hmm, I wonder, as I wander . . . .
-Rev. Hollie Tapley
Disaster Response Coordinator
Prayer for Reflection
Father, thank You for creating us as unique individuals, yet as one family. Forgive us for not living life so that others clearly see You in us. Help us to live in this world with Your expectation for each of us. May our lives bring a smile to Your face, a skip in Your steps, and joyful words saying, “you’ve got this – you understand”. Amen.