September 3, 2019
Scripture: 1st John 2:12-14
Little children, I’m writing to you because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus’ name. Parents, I’m writing to you because you have known the one who has existed from the beginning. Young people, I’m writing to you because you have conquered the evil one. Little children, I write to you because you know the Father. Parents, I write to you because you have known the one who has existed from the beginning. Young people, I write to you because you are strong, the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one.
Thought for the Day: Do you notice a pattern? Scripture is this wonderful and beautiful mix of writing styles and genres, some we understand and some are more culturally bound. There are times when it is as if you are looking at a political cartoon, but you do not know the political context. Categories of creative writing, including poetry and hyperbole, are wonderful ways of going beyond fact and dogma. They create entry points into emotional experiences not easily communicated in a straightforward expository approach. The author of 1st John has a repetitive bounce in the above words – little children, parents, young people – and then repeated. Each section has the word because, but most scholars would suggest it is a poor translation of the original Greek. Raymond Brown believes that in English, the best way to get at the original meaning is to make it into a colon. It would read: Little children, I’m writing you: your sins have been forgiven. There is no intended “because,” simply a statement of reality. Could this be a poetic catechism (a religious teaching tool) by which we understand our responsibilities as we grow in the faith? At each level, I know what I should know. And when I reach the level of parent, I not only know what i should know, but as the parent, I have a responsibility to help the little children and the young people embrace their responsibilities – the little children and young people who reside on either side of me. The reoccurring pattern reinforces in its very design the structure of a faith community that is serious about training people in the life of faith. Those who take anything seriously know they cannot be disorganized or indecisive. As we begin a new study this week, The Heart of the Love First Life, we will be working on patterns and structures in our individual and corporate life that will train us for the work of God’s Reign.
Prayer: Assist me, Holy Teacher, as I find routines and patterns that honor the consequential work of living the Love First Life. Amen.
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Rev. Bruce Frogge