Lectionary Year B
May 14, 2000
I John 3:16-24

Step V: Hermeneutical Bridge


(LE) Step V. Distillation

B. Smooth Translation: Word choices that differ from the English translations are highlighted. Some of these choices were made based on the semantic range of the Greek, others were made to be inclusive in language (particularly language about God) and other choices were made to keep the Trinitarian flavour that the author of I John has used elsewhere in this sermon. Footnotes explain the rationale behind many of these choices.

16. Remember, this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no compassion on him/her, how can the love of God be in him? 18. Little Children, let us not love with empty words but in action and truth. 19. This is how we know we are possessed by the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in Godís presence 20. whenever our hearts accuse us. For God is more forgiving than our own hearts and God discerns everything. 21. Dear friends, if our hearts do not accuse us, we are able to have confidence before God 22. and receive from God anything we ask, because we obey Godís commands and do what is pleasing to God. 23. Godís command is this: that we trust in the kerygma of Jesus Christ and love one another as Christ commanded us. 24. Those who obey Christís commands live in Him, and He in them. This is how we know that Christ lives in us: we know it by the Spirit that He (and the Father) sent us.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge: love in action vs: love in words Do I dare admit it? I am a "candle junkie" -- I find myself tuning into "the candle," the local contemporary Christian radio station, every time nothing of interest is on National Public Radio which means every Sunday night on my drive back to Austin from Brenham. For several weeks during these trips I would hear a particular song , "Love Speaks Louder. . .;" the chorus really "tattooed me" (BW's apt description).

Chorus: Love speaks louder, love speaks louder.
Itís not so much the things we say,
as much as what gets heard.
Love speaks louder, love speaks louder.
Love speaks louder than words.

Last Verse: Itís not in the saying,
but in the way in which we live.
It touches those who can not hear
and its ageless as it gives. [Note]

This makes for good theology! Recently, as I was driving along that long stretch of 290, I heard a new song -- "What If I Told You Jesus Loved You." Talk about contemporary Christian music embracing bad theology! The lyrics were just empty words. Exactly, what I think the author of 1 John was writing about in this pericope. I can imagine that this latter theology may have been similar to the theology that provoked the author of 1 John to write this treatise. Having recently been reading C. G. Jung specifically related to paired opposites I was drawn to these two songs and the difference in theologies that each presents.

Note: "Love Speaks Louder," Moon Circles. Santa Fe, 1996. prestige and the other things of this world , in and of themselves, are not bad; rather, it is the intentions .

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