Thursday, February 7, 2013

the elect lady

Good morning sisters and brothers,
Today's reading is a reminder that even though men usually get the spotlight in the Bible, women were important in the early Christian community. The Apostle John writes this letter to someone he refers to as "The elect Lady." We don't know who she was, but we can imagine that she was a leader in the community in some way. Women hosted churches in their homes, they hosted and assisted traveling Christian teachers, they prayed and taught and strengthened the community. Some traveled to share the gospel.

In this letter John repeats some of his common themes about trusting in Jesus and thus connecting with the Father. John's community seems to have been threatened with opposing teachings, so sometimes his writing seems very defensive or even aggressive. On the other hand, the story goes that John lived into very old age and always preached about love. In his last years they say the only message he had was love.

blessings on your day,

3 John 1:1-13
The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, 2because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 3Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 4I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father.

5But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. 6And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it.

7Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! 8Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. 9Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

10Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; 11for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.
12Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13The children of your elect sister send you their greetings.

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