We meet each Sunday morning before our worship service to study together and dialogue. We gather from 9:30-10:15am in the library (behind the sanctuary). Our time together is primarily one of discussion, following an initial time of teaching and exposing the unique and problematic elements in the selected text. The principal goal is to teach skills and resources to help read the scripture texts thoughtfully through their historical meaning, vocabulary, Biblical intertextuality in view of glimpsing what they might mean for us today. Any and all are invited.
Sunday Mornings 9:30-10:20 am in January, February and early March 2019
First John is written as a sermon and lacks the opening, greeting, thanksgiving and closing greeting that mark most New Testament Epistles (or pastoral letters). The author’s key purpose is to defend Christian communities against false prophets and to remind them that as children of God they are to live in the light and love one another. The division in the church seems to come from some docetistic teaching: the ancient belief, common in Greco-Roman culture, in the superiority of everything that is “spiritual” over the “physical”. ”. It led to much debate and division in the church over the nature of Jesus as God (leading to the adoption of first great Christian Creeds: The Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds). This worldview taught by these false prophets also seemed to imply that there is no connection between our spiritual-ity (beliefs) and physical actions (ethics). The pastoral author writes to counter that false teaching, reminding the church of what it means to be a child of God, and to see in Christ the invisible God, modeling our lives – spiritual and physical – on his life and example. Love is more than a feeling, it’s a concrete action. Confessing belief in Christ and living rooted in God’s love is inseparable from loving as Christ loves: being willing to give life for one in need, to lay aside our self-concern to choose to obey love.
The letter emphasizes the Christian notion of love as more of an action and activity than a feeling or thought. It resonates with our current culture of protest, resistance, anger and societal malaise. How are we invited to live, choosing obedience to Christ’s teaching and example over our own fear, frustration or faithlessness.
Part of this series is offering some discussion groups and workshops to help us have the "conversation" about how we live and die in the ways that we long to. As it’s said, “How we die is directly related to how we live.”
You can learn more about the book of 1 John through a great, concise introductory video (below).