Sunday, May 07, 2006

1 John 3:18

My children, let us not love one another in word and in tounge, but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18

There is often a bit of a imbalance between two important aspects of the Christian church- between belief and action. Sometimes I am critical of the writings attributed to Paul in the New Testament. It seems to me that Paul is too often exclaiming, "Believe!", as if that is sufficient. In my readings of the Gospels, from the lips of Jesus I am often hearing him say, "Do!" As the source of our earliest Christian writings, and as the practical foundation of the Christian church (Paul is, in reality, more the 'rock' than Peter), Paul created a bit of an imbalance that we need to be aware of, and, with mindfulness, seek to rectify.

Jesus' preaching regularly reminds us of our obligations to others- to love, to help, to nurture. Often these obligations seem to suffer as American Christians seek to demonstrate their faith through expressions as opposed to deeds. But, what faith is truly demonstrated with expressions? What faith is there if we fail to take the leap of action that Jesus asks of us? If I say, "I believe," but do not act on those beliefs, do I really believe at all?

"I am the way...", Jesus tells us. What I think he meant, at least in large part, was, "Look at how I go about my life, and model yourselves after that." He was merciful to the needy, helped the sick, patient with the children, and kind to those in emotional distress. That is "The Way", which is what early followers of Jesus called their faith long before it was called Christianity. We all need to make that way our way, and I was glad to be reminded of that obligation that I must meet today with the reading at church from 1 John.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love thinking in such depth about all of this. I would like to respond to your comment about "The Way", I have always loved the fact that the early church called themselves by that name. What a cool name! I must say, however, that when I was witnessing to a Buddist friend and I told her about this verse she did not take this to mean that we are to be like him in action. She instinctivly knew that Jesus was saying that He was the only way to the Father. One Way, One Truth and One Life. She was deeply offended by this comment. I understand and agree with you that we are to be like Jesus. The term Christian means "little Christ". What I fear about your comment is that interpreting "The Way" to mean to be like Him in deed is watering down this statement, making it more generic and widens the path. see Matt.7:13. I believe that Jesus's teachings were often times offensive to those whom He was speaking to, then and now. Like myself, my friend did eventually become a memeber of "The Way", and because of her faith "belief" she is taking action and is becoming more and more like Him and will some day "be like Him and see Him as He is" (I John 3:2).
I've had a great time reading your blog. Jenny is right, you're a great thinker!
Respectfully submitted.
Ruth Haney