Today, I’m watching the water trickle off the roof as it melts (finally!). As the temperature increases, the trickle will grow into small rivers all washing Old Man Winter away at last! Speaking of rivers: this week I’m splashing around in 1 John and John 14-15 (as well as John 10).
John describes his experience of Christ — his faith — as far more than a collection of beliefs. He sounds like he’s completely immersed in God-reality, floating on a lazy-river of Christ-awareness, and being swept up in the easy, life-renewing currents of Trinitarian Presence. (I know thats a mouthful, but what John is describing presses the boundaries of human language, so hang with me.)
The pregnant word or phrase that captures John’s spirituality — this deep, rich and personal experience of Christ that we all long for — is “abide” or “dwell” (Gk. ‘meno’).
God abides in Christ. Christ abides in God. God abides in us, and us in God. Then Christ’s love comes to abide in us, if we abide in Him. His Word either abides in us, or not. A special anointing abides in us. God’s very “seed” abides in us, waiting to burst forth into new life. Without love, we abide in death instead. (I’ll share some verses below.)
But all of this begs a couple big questions for us today as I ponder our life together at MainStreet: Is my heart an open and welcoming place for Christ, the Spirit, His Love and Word to come and dwell these days? And where is my soul unpacking its suitcase and taking up lodging? Or, back to the trickling waters and lazy rivers, what kind of currents are you floating in this week? Rough, angry waters of strife and restlessness? Or, the easy, life-giving currents of Christ’s all-pervasive and comforting Presence?
This is where my mind is on this Friday as I work on my sermon. I long for us all to come to know at a deeper, more experiential level what it means to “abide” in Christ. Please do yourself a favor this week and read through the verses below as well as John 14-15 and let it sweep you off your feet and into the lazy river of Trinitarian Love. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly, feel the Son shine on your face and open your ears to the loving, reassuring Voice of the Good Shepherd (John 10) who whispers:
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love…I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:7, 11).
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.
As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.
No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.
Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God.
We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death.
How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.