You are loved: Abide. Invite. Welcome.
As I’ve declared the above words to you over the past several weeks, I’ve been emphasizing “You are loved.” and “Abide.” Today, as I reflect on 1 John 1:1-4, my attention is shifting to “Invite.” This Sunday we begin our extended engagement with this inspired letter from John, and he begins his letter with an invitation:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life…we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:1,2).
Notice those simple words, “so that.” John is inviting his readers to enter a life-giving, deep friendship. And that friendship involves relationships with some remarkable people: John, his community, God the Father, Jesus his Son, and the readers themselves. And us!
The invitation into that relationship flows out of John’s lived experience with Jesus. He has heard the voice of Jesus; he has seen how Jesus lived, died, and lived again; he has felt the hand of Jesus, strong, warm, and wounded. Because of this lived experience with Jesus, he has experienced a unique togetherness with God and with others who share this experience. “Come and see Jesus,” invites John, “so that you too can participate in this togetherness.”
Proclaiming what we have seen, heard, and felt in our lived experience with Jesus invites others into the unique togetherness of what we call “church” – God with us, for the sake of others. This is what we do every Sunday at Immanuel.
And so, for this upcoming First Sunday of Lent, I invite you again to come and see Jesus, and I encourage you to invite others.
Your Pastor in Christ,