During Lent, our practice at Augustana is to gather midweek for a meal and brief worship. We can’t meet face-to-face, but we can share and encourage one another electronically. Check in midweek each Wednesday as people share their favorite scripture passages and why they speak to them in this uncertain time.
Shelley Barnard: My favorite passage is from First John – 1 John 4:7-12, 19 – 5:1 (NRSV):
7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Why this is one of my favorites:
I love this reminder that we are all made in God’s image, that we can learn to love God by loving his reflection in our neighbors. More than that, I like the point that we can not see God but we CAN see each other. If we hate (or worse, are indifferent to) the concrete, how can we possibly imagine that we can adequately love the abstract? Mostly, however, I like the reverse. We CAN show our love to God by loving each other. God feels the same way that I do when someone says something nice about one of my kids: I ADORE that person, and God adores us. In this uncertain time, that’s something to cling to.If you like this passage, you can listen to a recorded version of “Blaenwern,” a hymn based on these words. It was recorded at Westminster Abbey. To listen, click on the highlighted name of the hymn.