Today’s Bible reading
Read 1 John 3
Those born from God don’t practice sin because God’s DNA remains in them. They can’t sin because they are born from God. This is how God’s children and the devil’s children are apparent: everyone who doesn’t practice righteousness is not from God, including the person who doesn’t love a brother or sister. 1 John 3:9-10 (Common English Bible)
More thoughts for meditation
The Church (capital “C,” which means all Christians) has majored in pointing out those who do not practice righteousness. Christians, unfortunately, are known best for being judgmental and hypocritical—judgmental because they are always condemning sin, and hypocritical because who can live up to that standard?
It must not be about standards! We cannot label ourselves after every act, because if we did, we would be buried forever in wrongdoing and never rise from the grave to a life of righteous obedience. Remember what Paul says in our “theme chapter” for Lent this year, “Or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life.” (vv. 3-4)
This is the label that matters! We are born of God!
And no, Paul, we do not know. We just don’t believe it sometimes, or we forget, or we get buried in labels and evaluation of what just happened… and what happened years ago… and what might happen if… Lord save us from this body of death!
In John 3, our dear old Uncle John makes it sound simple. And what if it is? Don’t get tied up in knots; you are born of God, and God’s DNA is in you (again the Common English Bible delivers a great interpretation). Dear friends, let us PRACTICE righteousness. That is what Lent is for. Let’s not practice only knowing if we are right or wrong; let us DO what we know to be right—and do it well. We do not know nearly enough, true; but what we do know, let us DO it.
Suggestions for action
At our At-Home Sunday Meeting (watch it here if you haven’t seen it yet), we were led to create a little altar of sorts to help remind us of who we are and what we know. The Sunday Meeting Designers asked us to collect ordinary objects that help us see how death is confronted by life this season.
Have you found something that you were going to throw away that you are saving as your symbolic object this week? If not, find something that was going to be trash and you decided to keep it as a symbol of your own transformation.
In the meeting, Joel White gave us the example of an allen wrench that he was going to throw away but he decided to keep. He wrote down, “Despair is being confronted by caring for others,” because he had used that allen wrench to build a desk for his wife. Doing helps us know what Paul and dear old Uncle John are telling us in these scriptures. Try it out and share it if you’re so inclined. If you use #deaththroughlife it might encourage others as well.