My favorite gospel has always been John. I think it is because of how much it speaks of love. It is said that the Gospel of John was actually written by his disciples but this doesn’t mean much if we realize how steeped they were in his philosophy. It is right that they put his name on the document that eventually came to be part of our Bible.
Other documents attributed to John are three short letters to be found near the end of the collection of epistles. These are also full of the language of love and this morning I feel inspired by them.
What a difficult time we are living in. Our politics are so screwed up it is hard to imagine how we will ever untangle such a mess. Religion is screwed up, as well. I speak especially about my own – Christianity. I ponder our community and cannot believe how divided we are on teachings, in practice and in how we view the world. No matter where one is, it seems to be the “right” place or perspective and everyone else is judged to be in the “wrong”.
Reading the first letter of John this morning is helping me to focus. Here is a passage that nails it for me today:
Dear Friends, let us love one another because love comes from God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
I have friends and family members who stand in different places than I do in this Christian community. I don’t understand their perspective at times. It is so different than mine. But I choose to lean upon this idea of love as the centerpiece of existence ordained by God, for God is love. There are groups of Christians at odds with one another and in the extreme, any coming together seems impossible. Yet within these different groups, there are individuals who truly want to love as Jesus loved. They are kind to others with different views. They attempt to listen and understand. In other words, love overcomes the differences even as opinions don’t necessarily change.
I wonder if perhaps this space where love exists, whether as a seed or a full flowering plant, is where God dwells. Beliefs about doctrines or politics are not all that important if love has a chance. I think what we need to to is yield to that love as best we can.