Dispatch One Hundred Fifty

Posted: April 23, 2015 in Thirty-Fifth Bundle
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1 JOHN 4:7-21

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

We said earlier that faith is a risk. How so? Simply because of the fact that its venture of belief is in something beneath the level and outside the range of our sensory certainties. Furthermore, faith is properly speaking not the content of the belief but the act of believing – of trusting in, relying upon, or surrendering to the reality behind your notions about it.

It is not sufficient, then, merely to believe that something exists, even if that something is God. Faith is not choosing to believe in God even though (as the skeptic might argue) firm evidence is lacking, but is rather deciding to commit yourself to God and to what you understand God is about in the world.

The claim in this passage, that God is love, is therefore much more than a piece of Christian dogmatic knowledge. Love is not being singled out and elevated here as a quality or attribute of God – that God is loving, among other things. This is not dogmatic knowledge but convictional knowledge, not a matter of defining God but an exclamation out of the deep experience of God: God IS love!

And how exactly does that involve risk? Simply because the experience itself is entered only as we leap from the elevation of our ego and release ourselves totally to the gracious and generous “womb” of the divine ground beneath and within us. Such release is commonly feared by the ego, since its formation is really the achievement of control, by stages, along the developmental path toward maturity. We might grieve the ego and its separations, but the leap of faith depends on it.

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