Friday 30 December 2011

Bible Book:
1 John

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in these who love the world." (v. 15)

1 John 2:12-17 Friday 30 December 2011


"God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (John3:16). In a week when we are celebrating God's ultimateexpression of God's love for the world - the gift of the baby Jesus- it comes as something of a shock to be told to "not love theworld or the things in the world". It is helpful to acknowledgethat the word "world" is being used to describe two differentthings.

God's love for the world as expressed in God's coming amongst us -the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - ought tomake us more 'worldly' or more 'materialistic'. That is, inbecoming human, God has affirmed the world, creation and all thatGod has made. God has displayed a willingness to engage withcreation and be embodied and embedded within the mundane matter ofour everyday lives.

This embodiment is the inspiration for the work of the Church inseeking to make the world a better place. It is the pattern for theChurch's engagement with its context and the motivation for itsstruggling for justice, peace and reconciliation. It's the reasonwhy Christianity is not about 'pie in the sky when you die' and whythe Church believes in 'life before death'.

The "world" referred to today's passage is not this world which Godso loved - rather it is a euphemism for the "darkness" spoken ofearlier in the letter (eg 1 John2:11), for example, "the desire of the flesh, the desire of theeyes, the pride in riches" (v. 16). These also need some unpacking,of course, but they represent the darker side of human nature andthe transient, superficial things which can distract from thethings of God which will "live forever" (v. 17). It is thesedistractions we are not to love!

To Ponder

"I want my sun-drenched, wind-swept IngridBergman kiss; not in the next life, I want it in this."(from Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud), The BeautifulSouth). In the light of the above what might this lyric mean foryour understanding of Christian faith?

What are you involved in that is helping to makethe world a better place? And how does Christian faith inform whatyou are doing?

In what ways are you sometimes distracted fromthose things which will last - the things of God?

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