Four Big Theological Words
This month as people gather for family celebrations, and we celebrate our nation’s history, I am studying the Gospel of John and the “four big theological words of the Gospel: love, life, glory and truth.” (Bauckham, 2015) How does it apply to Mears & Shelby UMC? Let’s see, shall we?
Love: This overly used word in our vocabulary talks about the agape love that God has for us, so much so that he sent His Son so that we might have eternal life. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it through him. Agape love is like the gifting of something that doesn’t have strings attached, without conditions. As our churches keep discussing whether to stay or disaffiliate, I would remind us all to please be thoughtful in our words and let our actions speak of love instead of anger. I often say that Jesus’ command to love one another is that easy and that difficult.
Life: Yes, the life that John speaks of is eternal for those who believe in Jesus Christ. However, I am also reminded that we don’t believe just out of a desire to live forever. Even the ancient Egyptians believed in that. However, our belief in Jesus is to live transformed lives today, in the world we live in. In the Gospel there are several “I am” statements that Jesus made, ie: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), “I am the good shepherd”(10:11). Note that he used the present tense, not the future tense. “I am the way, the truth and the life” (14:6)
Glory: We stand and salute as the flag passes by in the parade. Would you give a standing ovation for Jesus? He said to Mary, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” Do we believe that glory is of a bygone age? “Glory is the visible manifestation of God.” (Bauckham, 2015) Do we not see the glory of God as the cherries go from blossom to fruition? Where do you see God in the world around us today?
Truth: I am often reminded that while on trial, Jesus said that he was here to testify to the truth, to which Pilate mocks: “What is truth?”(18:38) Proverbs says, “Truthful lips endure forever” (Prov 12:19) During this disaffiliation process, you will hear stories – some true, some not of what other churches, or in other states, some good, some bad. If you have a question pertaining to the validity of something, before getting angry, find out if it is true first. Peter, when speaking with the resurrected Jesus asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” (John 21:21-22) In other words, don’t worry about anybody else, just focus on following Christ with all of your heart, mind and strength. God will work everything out according to His will.
Have a happy and safe 4th of July! Be blessed and a blessing to others!