July 10, 2018
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20)
Tradition tells us that the Apostle John escaped from the Isle of Patmos by swimming out to a ship that was bound for the city of Ephesus where he lived to a very old age and was buried. With white hair and a long white beard he was so feeble they had to carry him to the meetings. While at the meetings he would bless those who attended and would cry:
“Little children, love one another, little children, love one another!”
As we see in chapter four of First John, John gives us ten reasons why we must love one another. One reason is that God is love and if we plug into the love God is we make contact with God. As we become a conduit of God’s love, God makes contact with us. John gives us a second reason that if we say we love God and we hate our brother, we are liars.
Because if we do not love the brother we can see how can we love God Whom we cannot see?
His point is that it’s not easy to love God, because we cannot hug a Spirit. There is an inseparable vertical and horizontal dimension of this love that God is.
These two dimensions form a cross.
We cannot say we love God if we do not love one another.
Dick Woodward, 09 July 2010
May 1, 2015
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:9-10)
As Jesus profiles what makes a disciple salty light and His solution to the problems and the problem people of this world, He declares that they will be peacemakers who get persecuted in His fourth pair of Beatitudes.
A synonym for “peacemakers” is “reconcilers.” Paul writes (in Second Corinthians 5:13-6:2), that every believer who has been reconciled to God through Christ is now committed to the message and the ministry of reconciliation. Today many people are alienated from God, from themselves, and from other people. The acute need today, therefore, is for reconciliation. To quote a theologian, who was interpreting the passage referenced above, “It is the will of the Reconciler that the reconciled are to be the vehicles of reconciliation in the lives of the un-reconciled.”
Since reconcilers go where the conflict is happening they are often in great danger. Such is the case with disciples who are living the fourth pair of Beatitudes. You would think that if a person had the eight blessed attitudes in their lives others would gather around him or her and sing, “For he’s (or she’s) a jolly good fellow!” But the opposite is often true. They attack and persecute such a person.
The reason being when they meet such a person they have two choices: They can realize that this is what I should be like, or they can attack that person and try to prove that they’re really not what they appear to be. Those who are the salt of the earth irritate and burn the moral sores of those who are lost.
So let me ask you, two men (people) in a pew, which one are you?
Dick Woodward, 16 April 2010