Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Word of Warning

Yesterday I just kept staring at the text which is 2 John: 1-13.  It is ostensibly written to a woman and her children and overall it contains the message - "Love One Another."

But contained within it is a definite word of warning:

Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. 
Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.

The word is to be on guard against the "deceivers."  Yesterday I found myself caught up in the testimony on TV  about Russians and wiretapping accusations and questions about leaks.  What is clear is that there are "deceivers" in this world and oftentimes it is very confusing about what is true and real and ultimately important.  And the "deceivers" are not just in politics but literally everywhere.

 Both this text and the Psalm contain the idea of walking in faith.

And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning–you must walk in it  12 John

O that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
and turn my hand against their foes.  Psalm 81

What I keep learning is that to concentrate on the "Deceiver"  is to fall into a place of judgment, frustration, helplessness.  So eventually I turn the TV off and go back to those  activities that are for me "walking in his ways"  : conversations with friends, time with my husband, reading, praying, art, creating, etc.. 

Over and over again on this Lenten journey I remember that faith is not just a thought or belief but the actions that make up our day.  We choose to walk in his ways as we seek to be people of love. What has been clear to me lately is that the power that the deceiver often has in my life is that he takes up way too much space in my consciousness.  So, I know it is important to face reality and not be naive - but at the same time to trust God's work in this world protecting me as I continue to do MY work - which is the work of love.


Here is a beautiful poem by Denise Levertov

But we have only begun
to love the earth.
We have only begun
to imagine the fullness of life.
How could we tire of hope?
—so much is in bud.
How can desire fail?
—we have only begun
to imagine justice and mercy,
only begun to envision
how it might be
to live as siblings with beast and flower,
not as oppressors.
Surely our river
cannot already be hastening
into the sea of nonbeing?
Surely it cannot
drag, in the silt,
all that is innocent?
Not yet, not yet—
there is too much broken
that must be mended,
too much hurt we have done to each other
that cannot yet be forgiven.
We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.
So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,
so much is in bud.

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