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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Today’s Reading | 1 John 5:1–5     

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (NRSV)

I do not often find myself in the writings of the pastoral epistles, like 1 John, so I needed a reminder of the setting and the author. Most scholars now agree that this letter is a treatise or sermon circulated among the early churches in the Johannine tradition. The author was likely an unknown teacher addressing that same network of congregations.

The first verse speaks to me in a powerful way. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child.” Through I trust that Jesus is the Promised One, the Christ, the Messiah, I am assured that I, and all who share this trust, are beloved children of God.

For years I have spoken of Jesus as our friend. Recently, though, I have been drawn back to a centuries-old tradition of addressing Jesus as our elder brother. The repeated refrain, uttered by Shannon, our pastor, naming Jesus as “our brother and our Savior” helped catalyze this transition for me.

Our response to the gospel’s claim on our lives is shaped by the language we use for God and for Jesus. How do the images of Holy Parent and of Jesus as our elder brother speak to you?

Holy Parent, I thank you for all the gifts of grace you have granted your children. Continue, I pray, to lead us in the way of our elder brother, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Written by Jeffrey Doane, Parish Associate for Older Adults

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