Hereby know we love,
because he laid down his life for us:and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.But whoso hath the world’s goods,
and beholdeth his brother in need,and shutteth up his compassion from him,how doth the love of God abide in him?My little children,let us not love in word,neither with the tongue;but in deed and truth.1Jn 3:16-18 RV
On Friday, Ivy read the above out at her school Mass. Fewer things have made me prouder as a father than that. I love Ivy being involved in her school church services, but to reading from 1 John is a whole new level. When she was reading it to me to practice, I was struck by a few things, not least how advanced the thought is for a 6 year old. I know when I was that age, I wasn't thinking in these terms.
The other aspect that got me was how far into James territory this section of the letter is. I have always emphasized the "mystical" elements of this text, but here, pure and simple is a very socialist, James-like statement:
But whoso hath the world’s goods,
and beholdeth his brother in need,and shutteth up his compassion from him,how doth the love of God abide in him?
This is of course a very true statement. If God is Love, and if God does abide in us, how is it at all possible for us not be this love for everyone?
I honestly struggle with this. Some are more difficult to love than others. Sometimes I find it easy to love everyone and all creation. Then the next moment, I can only wonder why some people exist. Ouch. At those times, I can feel an awful distance come into my life, a separation of my being with that of God.
Anyway, these are the constant struggles which make up a part of the Christian journey. No one said it was going to be easy, not least Jesus Himself.
Here is a song I really dig, and dug when it came out.