Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The I John Passage for Easter 2B

1 John 1:1-2:2
Fellowship with Jesus, fellowship with one another and dis-fellowship(my new word) with sin. Joy and more joy!
5This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there's not a trace of darkness in him. 6-7If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we're obviously lying through our teeth—we're not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin.

1-2I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world's.

John in this letter is telling us what God has for us and a guide out of the sin life.

John Wesley in his notes says; "We have for our advocate, not a mean person, but him of whom it was said, "This is my beloved son." Not a guilty person, who stands in need of pardon for himself; but Jesus Christ the righteous; not a mere petitioner, who relies purely upon liberality, but one that has merited, fully merited, whatever he asks."

Check out the sermon “That Our Joy May Be Complete” by Jana Childers Dean and Professor of Homiletics, San Francisco Theological Seminary. She begins with the song, Will the Circle be Unbroken, using that as a metaphor about what we long for in church and life. She does have a way with words.

C. Clifton Black at Working Preacher says this; In simple terms, this is 1 John's theme throughout: the coherence of the church with God's love expressed in Jesus Christ. In practice, it is not at all simple; for soon we learn that the letter's author is distraught over a schism in that church, a divorce over who Jesus is and the difference his coming has made (cf. 1 John 2:18-25; 4:1-6; 5:1-12). The author writes with heartfelt hope that "our joy may be consummated" (1 John 1:4). First, John's memo to the church: let's not pretend that for generations the message handed down is some figment of a sick or infantile imagination. Let's not sing of community while stabbing others in the back. Let's not kid ourselves that we'd never think of such a thing and haven't done it. God is no fool, and Jesus didn't give his life for us to continue living our lies. Easter is God's refusal to leave the world in the lurch, the risen Son's promise to reclaim us and everyone else for his Father.

1 John gives us a window into a first Christian community rife with dissension, if not complete schism. In Acts of the Apostles we see what looks like a very civilized community. John helps us to see that Christians have been bitterly fighting each other since the beginning. Behavioral issues are described in 2:7-8 and 3:10-11. What is clear is that the two factions had forgotten how to love each other despite their theological differences.

Check out this article: Sin Is When Life Freezes (I John 1:8) by Dorothy Solle. Perhaps her title says it all, and that not only do we freeze, but our relationships freeze, our fellowship of the community freezes, our fellowship with God freezes. She has several illustrations in this article that are good too.


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