Week 50 Saturday

From the Beginning

Today’s scripture selection: Second John

Key verses: Second John 4-6

The New Testament letter of Second John helps me get back to basics.

When so many different philosophical; political; religious; social ideas compete for our attention and allegiance – John keeps things simple.  Writing to his “dear children” in the faith he says:

“I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning.  I ask that we love one another.  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.”

This is a very powerful teaching when you dissect it.

It calls for love – no question about it.  And in that, it’s like a lot of other philosophies and religious ideas that call for human kindness, one to another.

But it also defines love in a very special way – a daily walk, in obedience, to his commands.

Whose commands?  Jesus.

Almost since old John first penned that instruction – Christians and non-Christians alike have been at odds over what being “in obedience” to Christ’s commands means.

But for John, clearly that has to do with loving in the deepest and most profound of ways.

To love is to act as Christ would have us act.  And Christians today differ quite a bit on what that means.

Still, I still believe in the possibility that if Christ’s love remains our beacon and example, we can find more common ground with one another than we often care to admit.

Will we have doctrinal differences between the various parts of the family that openly calls itself “Christian”?  Yes.

Do those differences need to splinter us ever further and further apart?  I hope not.

So – when things seem complicated – get back to basics; go back to the beginning.  Go where John did. 

Go to Christ – and His loving embrace.

Prayer: Lord, help me to always remember your deeply powerful; deeply sacrificial love – may it always be my guide.  AMEN.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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