Week 10:The Johannine Epistles

Day 1: I John 1
Day 2: I John 2
Day 3: I John 3
Day 4: I John 4
Day 5: I John 5
Day 6: II John
Day 7: III John

Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


This week we are reading the Johannine Epistles. Throughout these three texts we are confronted with the belief that we, who are in the light are called to love one another. The only way to be in the light is to love one another, to not love the things of this world, and to walk in the light rather than in the darkness. The Johannine texts make it clear that it is not enough to say that you love your neighbor, you have to put those words into action (where have we heard that before?).

This year has been a tense year. We’ve seen the best and worst in strangers and in those we know. It’s draining. There are some days where I want to avoid the news. I just want to sit on our deck with a cold beverage and my very large stack of unread novels. But I don’t have that option if I want to walk in the light. That’s the pesky thing about being in the light, you have to make the choice to be there. Yes, you should take time for self-care, but there’s a difference between self-care and completely avoiding the problems in our world. Loving our neighbor means that we not only pay attention to the injustice in the world around us, but that we do something about the injustice in the world around us.

Saying you love your neighbor only goes so far. How do you love your neighbor? Does you neighbor know you love them? It’s easy to say things even if we don’t believe them in order to avoid a confrontation-people lie all the time. It’s harder to put your words into deeds, because once you do that you’ve taken a public stance. You’ve said and shown your neighbor that you love them. But it doesn’t stop there. Walking in the light is a life long process. The choices that we make daily determine if we are in the light or the darkness. Are we on the side of love? Of justice? Or are we on the side of maintaining the status quo? Silence in the face of injustice is violence and is not the stance of someone in the light. Light and love vocally, physically seek justice for the oppressed.

Little children, to be in the light means speaking truth to power, even if your voice shakes. Baptism doesn’t automatically place you on the right side of history. We make the choice to be on the right side of history. We make the choice to love our neighbor in word and deed. We make the choice. Beloved, let us love one another, let us fight for justice, let us get into good trouble, let us walk in the light with the one was in the beginning, the word made flesh. Amen.

1. The Johannine epistles can make us feel uncomfortable because they draw clear lines about who is in the light and who isn’t. If you felt uncomfortable while reading these texts, take some time to reflect on why that might be.

2. These texts are less about judging our neighbor for their behavior and more about reflecting on our own behaviors. Take time this week to really think about how you are loving your neighbor in both word and deed.

3. Do at least one thing this week to let your neighbor know you love them. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

4. We always tell children to stop and think before they act. This week, try taking your own advice, stop and think before you act. Consider why you are doing what you are doing. Are you walking in the light or in the darkness? If you’re walking in the darkness how can you get to the light?

Lord of Glory, You have bought us

With Your life-blood as the price,

Never grudging for the lost ones

That tremendous sacrifice;