Key Text

1 John 4:11-21

Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.
God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.
So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.
We love because he first loved us.
Those who say,"I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they
have not seen.
The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

cited from the NRSV

Image of the week

October 31, 2005

Banded Snake

For the previous image (31 August 2005), click here.

 

Present Context

For Reflection

We live in a time when fear rules. The fear of terrorism feeds into a fear of the stranger. Difference becomes a source of suspicion rather than celebration.

As much as I hate snakes, I recognise that their primary purpose in life is not to kill me. But when I see one, whether in captivity or the wild... I shudder at the thought.

What does it mean when the bible says "Perfect love casts out fear"? What is the implication for us as we live in this fraught world? As we seek to incarnate afresh the purposes of God in today's world?

Can we love so boldly in the face of fear? Can we imagine and create a different scenario of hope?

Prayer:
God, you loved us even when we made ourselves enemies of You. You did not despise us, but reached out to us in love.

Help us, we pray, not to be ruled by fear, but to express love at every opportunity.

Teach us to be those who work "to cast out fear", with you, and in the name of the Prince of Peace.

Amen