Reading: 1 John 3:1-3 (NRSV)
1See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
ELCA Book of Faith Devotional Questions:
1. What scares, confuses, or challenges me in this text? What do I have questions about? My challenge is in the phrase, “The reason the world did not know us is that it did not know him.” Being Christians means that we act differently than the status quo of the world. It means that we are a people of love and forgiveness and hope, even despite all evidence to the contrary. It means caring for the last, the least, and the lowly, the vulnerable, the estranged, and the endangered. And when we act this way, the world will have a hard time recognizing us, because it has a hard time recognizing Jesus. What aspect of the Christian faith is challenging to you? In what ways would you sometimes rather side with the world than with Jesus?
2. What delights or comforts me in this text? What is my favorite part, and why? I am comforted by the phrases “when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” Martin Luther wrote, “In the good we do, we are just “little Christs” to each other (Luther’s Works, Vol. 31, pages 367-368). We are reflections of Christ’s love, one to another, and in being those reflections, we actually see Christ for ourselves, here and now in our daily lives. I am so glad that we are called to be like Christ, to forgive, and love, and heal. And I am doubly glad for all of those who work to forgive, love, and heal me! Who has been like Christ for you this week? In what ways has your life reflected the love of Christ?
3. What stories or memories does this text stir up in me? How does this story intersect with my life? My imagination is captured by the phrase, “what we will be has not yet been revealed.” It reminds of the progression of our Confirmation students through our four year course of study. When they begin, they are in 5th grade, full of the wonder and questions (and goofiness and energy) of children. By the time they finish their 8th grade year, they have matured, both in faith and in life, and I get a true sense of the kind of adults that they will grow up to be. We are all constantly becoming, growing, discerning who we are, both in this world and as Beloved Children of God. I am blessed to get to be a part of the journey of revelation alongside you.
4. What is God up to in this text? What is God calling me to do or to be because of this message? When I truly rest in this text, I do not believe that it is calling me to do or to be anything. Instead, it calls me to deeper awareness of my identity in God’s eyes as Beloved, as Child of God, as a reflection of Christ to the world. What does it mean to you to know that you are all of these things, and more? I pray that you will connect to Christ’s love in a deep way in the coming week, especially in a world so intent on dividing us.
In Christ, Pastor Breen