“…I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning:
Let us love one another.’” (2 John 5)
As you read my reflection today, it is 10 days after I wrote it (on Election Day in the U.S.).
As I ponder the scriptures today, I can’t help but wonder about the voting…the
outcome…the end of the interminable political messages: “Hi, I’m so and so,
and I approve of this message.” I’m sure that most of us are glad that
the pre-election rat race is over, also.
Apart from how each of us voted, today’s letter from John offers insights
to all of us…as we face the outcome of the election.
2 John is a very short letter to a ‘chosen lady’ and her children (which
some scripture scholars interpret as a specific woman and others interpret
as an early Christian community; all followers of Jesus were referred to
Regardless, the author is encouraging the letter’s recipients to continue
to follow the teachings of Jesus and to live according to God’s commandment…‘let
us love one another’. The community is also encouraged to not
be deceived by those who teach that Jesus was not truly human and/or did
not die and was resurrected.
To ‘love one another’ is the mark of a Christ follower, yet something that
bears repeating and reminding over and over again.
The psalmist picks up the theme of being blessed as we walk in the way/law of God…to love. The psalmist prays,
“With all my heart I see you; let me not stray from your commands; in my
heart I treasure your promise…open my eyes, and let me ponder the wonders
of your law (love).”
In these post-election months, it may take much prayer and reflection for
all of us to invite our God in our midst - in the middle of our differences
- so that we can discover ways to work with one another, finding common ground
to bring God’s presence and love in our midst.
Prior to today’s Gospel passage, the Pharisees ask Jesus when the reign of God would come. Jesus’
answer is: “…the reign of God is already in your midst.” However, as
today’s scriptures continue, Jesus notes that it will not be easy to bring
about God’s reign. And people will continue in their everyday patterns
of eating, drinking, working, etc., and will not notice the opportunity,
to see the potential for God’s presence (reign) until it may be too late.
As citizens of the United States, we have much for which to be grateful…and
much for which to answer regarding the gifts we have been given. Will
we squander and argue away our time, efforts, gifts, talents and resources,
or will we heed today’s scriptures at such a crucial moment in our history
following the 2004 elections?
Joan Chittister, OSB, in her Oct. 28, 2004 column, From Where I Stand, stated:
“We are choosing now how we shall go about being America in a global
world. This question no election can completely resolve for us. That we have
to do for ourselves long after the election is over in this divided nation.
From where I stand, the real problem is clear: This election is about us,
the electors, and the way we see our role in the world, not simply the candidates.
We're a divided people and the religious visions that are dividing us must
themselves come together if we are ever going to resolve it.”
In the November 2, 2004 Sojourners, David Batstone suggests:
“Pray for common ground with your political opponents, then walk
on that fertile soil. Too many important political issues in America today
are polarized, and the inevitable result is paralysis. Jim Forest visited
my class at the University of San Francisco this past week and shared with
the students a profound insight: "The opposite of love is not hate, but fear."
We fear sliding down a slope from the height of our own self-right-ness.
We fear our adversary. We fear losing control. And we cease to love.”
My prayer tonight is that we truly listen and respond to 2 John’s call:
“…I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment, but the one
we have had from the beginning: ‘Let us love one another.’”