God’s Children

A mother listens to the baby monitor in her three-year-old’s room during “nap” time. Her daughter is engaged in an elaborate tea party. The special guest at the table is her one-year-old cousin who lives and is currently located in another state. The mother smiles as she hears the conversation between “Baby Layne” and “Nor-Nor.” In the little girl’s mind, this is real. The imagination is strong with this one!

It is delightful to enter the mind of a child. There is so much hope, innocence, wonder, and magic there. The purity of a child’s heart is something to behold.

In 1st John, we see the idea of the purity of children used as a metaphor for how we change when we become followers of the Father. We become God’s children. This means that when he appears, we shall see him as his is. Our hope purifies us, as Christ is pure. With the confident innocence of a child, we can approach the throne of God.

1 John 3 (Common English Bible)

 See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children, and that is what we are! Because the world didn’t recognize him, it doesn’t recognize us.

Dear friends, now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves even as he is pure.

That purity is in jeopardy when it comes to sin. Sin will be received by the Father as an act of rebellion. Sin separates us from his presence and stains our souls. Thankfully, we know that he appeared to take away our sins.

Every person who practices sin commits an act of rebellion, and sin is rebellion. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. Every person who remains in relationship to him does not sin. Any person who sins has not seen him or known him.

Little children, make sure no one deceives you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, in the same way that Jesus is righteous.

John reminds us not to fall into deception. Righteousness is the way of the children of God. It is the life Jesus calls us to live. We are called God’s children, and that is what we are!

See What Kind of Love by Michelle Robertson

Sleepwalking

These are trying times. That may be the understatement of the year. I don’t need to list all the reasons that I write that because you are living it. In my lifetime, nothing has been this hard, divisive, confusing, and in many ways, dangerous. The list of don’t do this, don’t go here, don’t engage in this behavior is endless. In my state, the governor just reduced indoor gatherings from 25 to 10. We are hunkering down for the next tidal wave of infections, which have already started…just in time for winter.

I know of two families who will not be able to share a Thanksgiving dinner together because younger members are not willing to isolate prior to that day. They have decided that going to the bars, gyms, and other social events is something they aren’t willing to give up for two weeks in order to be together safely. Another friend reports that she hasn’t seen her parents in months because they won’t wear masks when they go out and they continue to attend a monthly club dinner where nobody is wearing masks as they sit side by side at large tables.

Like I said, these are trying times. And trying times can bring out the most selfish tendencies that people have. It makes me think that I have been sleepwalking all of my life until 2020 reared its challenging head. Well, I’m woke now.

The lectionary assignment for today is (once again) startling in its accuracy. I had a wonderful chat with a colleague about the power and the relevance of the lectionary selections for this cycle. God is always ON POINT in scripture, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the lectionary assignments written decades ago keep bringing the living word right into our current situation.

Take a look at Paul’s letter to his church at Thessalonica. If we didn’t know better, we might think he wrote it last night.

1 Thessalonians 5 (The Message)

1-3 I don’t think, friends, that I need to deal with the question of when all this is going to happen. You know as well as I that the day of the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars. He won’t call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would.

About the time everybody’s walking around complacently, congratulating each other—“We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.

Although Paul is referring to the end times, the image of people walking around complacently declaring that “we can take it easy” is an accurate portrait of what’s happening in pandemic ridden post-election America. We’re just tired. We want it all to be over. Our vigilance in many areas of society has slipped, and the numbers are surging.

4-8 But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others.

Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.

I love how Paul encourages us to keep our eyes open and be SMART. We can’t be taken off guard by this. Families are making hard decisions about gathering together. We may have to face the reality that our holiday meals will look much different than the festive tables we took for granted in the past.

But it won’t always be this way, so maybe it’s better to look beyond the immediate. Even in this struggle, we are alive in Christ…and that’s the good news.

9-11 God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him!

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing .

Paul gives the best advice. Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope! Make the sacrifice to quarantine so that you can be with your family members. We are all in this together, and together we can ensure that no one is left out. Let’s not sleepwalk through this. As Paul says, be smart!

We’re All in This Together by Michelle Robertson