September 4, 2019
Scripture: 1st John 2:18-21
Little children, it is the last hour. Just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really part of us. If they had been part of us, they would have stayed with us. But by going out from us, they showed they all are not part of us. But you have an anointing from the holy one, and all of you know the truth. I don’t write to you because you don’t know the truth but because you know it. You know that no lie comes from the truth.
Thought for the Day: I confess that I am a card-carrying cynic, at least in some parts of life. Interesting, though, I am a cynic in certain parts of my faith life because I am a person of hope. In this section, the author speaks of how we are in the last hour. Not only is the antichrist coming, but many of them are already here. Of course, those words were not written an hour ago…or even a few hundred hours ago. In recent years, there are those who have said that an hour in God’s time is in fact, two-thousand years. And for that reason, the hour is upon us now. Of course, there were those a thousand years ago who made a push to suggest that an hour in God’s time was one thousand years. There have been those who have come up with all kinds of creative formulas that suggest that the current moment is the moment. These creative interpretations of scripture have occurred every single year since Jesus walked the earth, and even before his arrival, there were those who suggested that the end was upon us. Why would today be any different then 45 years ago or 400 years ago or 1,100 years ago? You get my point. Might I suggest that the author is drawing upon a well know genre to communicate hope to a people who have known periods of persecution and suffering. In human history, has there ever been a time when antichrists have not been appearing, those who stand opposed to the ways of Christ’s love? Instead of spending so much energy and resources in trying to prove why next Thursday is the day, I think God is challenging us to be those whose lives are the radical alternative to the antichrists. So much time is spent in 1st John talking about living in the light, loving brothers and sisters, and demonstrating compassion. Maybe the author wants every generation to claim this as the final hour, in part, to take seriously the idea of loving God and loving neighbor now.
Prayer: Provide me passion and urgency, O Spirit of Hope, in the work set forth by Christ Jesus. Give me eyes to see what needs to be done, and how my gifts can assist in revealing your love. I do not wish to place this action item on my calendar for two weeks from Friday, but for this moment before me. Amen.
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