September 19, 2019
Scripture: 1st John 5:5
Who defeats the world? Isn’t it the one who believes that Jesus is God’s Son?
Thought for the Day: Hogwash! I had a grandfather who enjoyed using that word. I kind of knew its meaning from the context, but I always struggled to make the connection between cleaning a pig and something being nonsense. I was probably in my late teens when I was reading a book in which one of the characters described the bucket of leftovers as wash. Sadly, this not so bright young lad still did not make the connection. It was only later, when I heard someone use the term ‘hogwash’ that it finally clicked. That’s a long explanation to get to the point — the above passage must have sounded like hogwash to many people. To speak of the crucified Jesus, the one executed by the Romans for treasonous behavior, as God’s son must have sounded like hogwash. To suggest that the followers of this executed traitor, the one who had no armed military, would defeat the world would have sounded a little like hogwash. Even with the resurrection, Jesus only provided a few good words and his Spirit as the tools for the task. When the author of 1st John speaks of “the world,” it was a philosophical trope to describe everything that was hateful, mean and broken about human systems and relationships. To suggest that those of us who follow Jesus will defeat this world makes me want to say, “Hogwash,” but one thing keeps me from saying it. Simply put, “Hope!” The breath-taking hope provided through Jesus, the one who loved without pausing to determine if someone had met a predetermined level of worthiness. He just loved with a radical and relentless power. Strangely, I believe that kind of love can defeat everything in this world that is not of God, leaving a world that is gentle and kind and at peace. You may read this and say, “Hogwash,” and that’s fair. But I hope you might join me in the good work of love if for no other reason than you want to make me feel good.
Prayer: Give us some encouragement, O Lord, because this struggle against the world armed only with love seems a bit foolish. Stand with us as we follow in the ways of Jesus, including finding and taking up our own cross. Amen.
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