This is the message we have heard from Jesus and proclaim to you, that God is light and in God there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Christ while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as Christ himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus God’s Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)
This year, throughout the season of Eastertide, we are blessed to have the opportunity to read through the first letter of John in the epistle (letter) lesson each weekend. Written by the same school of authors as the gospel of John, which is clear from themes and writing style, this letter elaborates upon the essential tenants of John’s gospel so that we might more fully understand all that Christ represents.
The letter begins by speaking of light and life, echoing John 1 – in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God… what has come into being in him was light and the light was the life of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. If you ever need to hear the wonder of the Easter message in summary, there it is. Whatever may occur and no matter how much evil and death try to snuff it out, the true Light will always rise like the dawn. That Light brings life to the whole world, or at least to those who want it.
Contrary to what Christian culture would often teach us, this letter suggests that there will be somewhat different evidence of us truly being a follower of Christ. It will not be solely that we confess with our mouths. Nor will it be that we suddenly do all the right things and condemn all the “wrong” ones. Quite the opposite: the evidence of our “walking in the light” is that we will have fellowship with one another. Communion. Community. As real as the relationship of our trinitarian God. That is when we will find the forgiveness of our sins in Christ – as we become part of God’s force for reconciliation.
Much like this passage, in the gospel of John, Pilate asks, quid est veritas? What is truth? Here is the answer for any who would follow Christ. To do what is true is to live into the life of God. That life builds up the downtrodden and topples dominating powers. That life heals the wounded and listens to children. That life welcomes all no matter what and refuses to sit still while others are being harmed. It is a life that seeks all people reconciled to one another, even as we have already been reconciled to God in Jesus Christ. Just imagine what that world might look like… if we truly believe and seek and do as Christ has commanded us.
It is with this vision in our mind’s eye that I offer a children’s song as a prayer, keeping all that we know of Christ’s call in our hearts as we sing: I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus. God set the stars to give light to the world. The star of my life is Jesus. In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
May it be so. This day and every day to come.