Monday, May 27, 2013

Knowing God, Knowing Others, Knowing Thyself: The Three Faces of First John

Beginning the first Sunday of June and going until it is finished, I will be teaching a series in the Seekers Community at Warm Beach Free Methodist Church, on the New Testament letter of 1 John.  I have titled this series - Knowing God, Knowing Others and Knowing Thyself: The Three Faces of 1 John.  The title is born out of my research and reading of this foundational New Testament book.  John addresses these three relationship arenas that each of us encounters in our lives.  As Christians our relationship with God is the most important relationship, the primary one and this relationship ought to guide and direct our other relationships.  Christians often discuss how we are to relate to others (friends, coworkers, brothers and sisters in Christ, enemies, etc.) but often the relationship to the self is neglected.  This is where the long tradition of spiritual formation and spiritual direction over the centuries of Church History enlightens our reading of 1 John and other texts.  The three faces of 1 John are the three areas of relationship that interact and interrelate to form a kind of three-ness of relational experience.  1 John moves around these three faces sometimes emphasizing one, at other times two and even in some cases all three at once.  Love is the defining substance of John's discussion of these three faces, and his exposition of the substance of love in this letter is unparalleled in the New Testament, to put it bluntly, John is in love with love.  He uses the word more often in this letter than any other New Testament writer.  As the Seekers begin the journey of exploring this wonderful and insightful letter, I pray that we would grow to know God more, know each other more, and know ourselves more - and that the fruit of that knowledge would be a greater depth of love.  Amen!

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