‘I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me. ‘If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. ‘You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’
This passage in John is never read out as part of the Lectionary. Much of John is missed out because his gospel does not have its own year in the conventional lectionary. So this passage is not as familiar as some others we may read. So let’s think about it this way….
Shinedown tell us “You can have a sound of the thousand voices calling your name. You can have the light of the world blind you, bathe you in grace” then ask the question “How did you love?”
It’s all very well being the top of your game; the peak of your performance, and all the fame and glory that go with it – but if you do not love, what is the point? You can find the fastest; fittest; most talented people to idolise and follow but if you do not love, what do you gain?
No one is an island – we do not exist in isolation. But there is a difference between loving our neighbour and being adored by our fans, or adoring our idols at the expense of our neighbour. The deserved glory does not belong to us, it belongs to God. It is no good trying to find a relationship with God by doing our own thing or following the latest trend, or only believing the bits of scripture we like. If we do not open ourselves up completely to God, what hope is there?
Let us turn to the eternal light and find our relationship with God –by reading the whole of scripture, and by loving God and our neighbour as ourselves with all we have.
Shinedown finish with “No-one gets out alive; every day is do or die; the one thing we leave behind is How did you love?”
What will our answer be?
Lord help us not to pick and choose what we believe but open ourselves up to you fully. Open our hearts to love our neighbour and not be swayed by popular opinion or passing trends. May we give you the glory and honour due to you and allow others to support us on our journey of faith. Lord we offer you our lives. Amen
he Rev’d Ruth Watson SCM MediaCityUK Church, Salford Quays