Saturday, July 21
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
1 John here says that "the one who was born of God" (Jesus) "protects them" (people who were born of God), and that "we are God's children" living in a world "under the power of the evil one." In short, Jesus protects us from the evil one.
A few years ago a counselor asked a group, "Who protects you?" Answers ranged from "my parents," and "my spouse," to "God." When it came to my turn, I answered, "no one." She looked at me questioningly and I went on. "No one protects me. Protection is an illusion. No one can protect any of us from all things. Eventually, bad things are going to happen that no one can protect me from." The counselor was disturbed with my answer, but I stick to it today. No one can truly be protected from all things at all times.
My perspective comes authentically from my experience. When my first son was 16 months old, he was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes (now T1D). I learned early that, even as a parent whose job is to protect my kids, I could not protect them from everything. It has profoundly shaped my outlook on life, and makes me rethink what it means to be protected.
In light of my experience, I interpret this verse suggesting Jesus protects us from the evil one a little differently. I don't think it is saying Jesus protects from all bad things all the time. If so, the verse would be lying. But what if it was saying that Jesus protects us from the eternal consequences of sin and death? Now, that's an interpretation I can work with. Jesus came not to make my life butterflies and rainbows, but to ensure that I would have eternal life in the presence of God in spite of my flawed and blemished life. So, I will keep looking both ways when I cross the road, but I will never have a sleepless night wondering whether or not I am loved by a God who saves.
Narrative Lectionary Text: 1 John 5:18-21
We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. We know that we are God’s children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.