Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.
The more I’m involved in church work, the more convinced I am that many people have forgotten the basics of our faith. I don’t feel so unhappy about this, however, when I read this text, written sometime in the latter part of the 1st Century, because then I realise that the problem is not something new to us; but was epidemic in the Early Church as well.
Listen to people around you, to the television and the radio, and to preachers far and wide, and you will get a dizzying array of opinions, facts, and suppositions on the Christian faith.
The real test of Christianity isn’t how much we give. God’s not looking at how many days a week we are in church. It doesn’t matter if we are a Baptist, a Presbyterian, an Anglican or if we wear any other badge. What matters is our faith, and the basis of our faith is love.
If our faith is based on Christ, then our faith is based on love because Christ is love. Christ is love in person! If we are to understand the very bedrock basis of our faith, then we need to understand love. John calls us back to basics today, he tells us to return to the basic commandment of Christ – and that commandment is love. Indeed, love has been part of God’s plan throughout eternity.
Father of love, who in Christ, showed us the way to love others; open our hearts to the needs of our neighbours. Let us not be too hasty to make judgements lest we too, are judged, but give us the patience to hear and to show others that they will receive a welcome. God is love, God is truth, God is beauty – Praise Him!
Ann Barton Member of Whittlesford URC and former Facilities Manager at Church House.