1 John 3:1-3

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3

I love the line “the world does not know us…” I get that.

The Christian church – and I say it that way on purpose because it lumps us all together in one big diverse disagreeing extended families of cousins around the world – gets regularly trashed. It has become fashionable.

Facebook posts abound with how old fashioned and out of touch and hypocritical we are. One post tells us we ignore the “wants and needs” of entire generations of people, all to please grandma’s and grandpa’s and thereby keep the doors open.

We’re told that all we care about is money and buildings and stained glass. That the world will have to pry our cold dead fingers off our pipe organ keyboards. The sign might say “Lutheran” or “Baptist” or “Episcopalian” but all we are really are secret clubs of Democrats or Republicans who give for the sake of the tax breaks and care only about maintaining the status quo (which is code for our own personal and positional power.)

The world says we are either Tea Party Luddites, homophobes, and racists or else we are bleeding heart liberal homosexual loving sell outs who have traded the Ten Commandments in for “do you own thing, just don’t hurt anybody.”

The only time the Pope makes the front page is if he says something that might tweak the establishment. The only time most pastors make the front page is if they got arrested for stealing money or some sexual sin.

The world does not know us.

The world doesn’t see how insignificant our buildings really are to us. They are just tools. The world doesn’t see what happens within those walls. People showing up for one another, supporting one another, encouraging one another, praying together, serving, giving, crying.

Week after week after week, faithful people giving on their time, their skills, and their money to insure than the good that the church does keeps happening. People making way, learning new things, ever expanding the horizons of their views of God and the world.

Every week I watch what happens in the life of the congregation I serve. I realize, when I am working with couples preparing for marriage, that there is not one other place in the entire world where our conversation takes them right where they need to go to start their new lives on the right foot. I see conversations happening between young people and their children that would never ever happen anywhere else if not for the church to encourage them. I see random acts of kindness, consistent service, and streams of people showing up to our campus for recovery meetings and other activities that are profoundly life-giving.

The world sees none of that. At least nothing that gets reported on Facebook.

So I vote, let’s the tell the world about the side of the church that they have either never seen or have long forgotten. We will tell the world by speaking the universal language of the church – however muted, misunderstood, or misplaced – and that is the language of love. For that is all we have to give that matters.

Let us pray: Thank you for loving us, God of mercy, power, and presence. Keep speaking that love to us, and through us, for we so easily forget and so often need to be reminded that that is what you are all about, and that is all we need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “1 John 3:1-3”

  1. kirk Says:

    make very good points A men

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