Can We Do This?

What a great day! It is the feast of John the Evangelist. John’s passion for the Lord is what I call “all in”. He gave his whole self to the Lord Jesus.

In the First Reading, John mentions fellowship twice. Looking up the Greek term for fellowship, we find the word koinonia. That word evoked a flashback to many years ago, a young adult group called the same. Several of our children met regularly with this group. The group was tight knit and were good friends. They did a lot of things together including attending retreats. Some weddings came from that group including one of our daughters. Why is that important? Because, it shows we are social people. We don’t do well when we isolate ourselves from other people. We learn from each other, the good and the not so good. If we have a good friend or two we can hold each other accountable. Now, before you try that, remember we are living in a time when no one likes to be told what to do. It takes a lot of love for this to work between friends. Better to deliver the message as a suggestion than as a command.

I have a feeling that John in today’s reading was pretty good at that. Perhaps you have discovered in your spiritual walk that the closer you get to God, the clearer your idea of who God is becomes. In that “awakening” you find that He whispers words to you that have great meaning. I believe that the older disciples noticed things about John that helped them grow in their love for God even though he was much younger. Remember, John was one of the three who were picked to be with Jesus in some very important times like: The Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden. Did his brothers notice that? Of course, they did. I wonder what they thought when they saw John lay his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have koinonia (fellowship). In my last fifty years of ministry I have seen people that isolate themselves get into some very serious emotional distress.

Perhaps you have noticed that John never says his name in his writings. He says, “the other disciple” or “the one that Jesus loved”. An act of great humility.

Commentaries have said that it does not mean that Jesus loved John more than the others (you would have to ask Jesus about that). But, John was the one that was “all in” and opened his heart wide open to receive God’s love the most.

Can We Do That?

Enjoy Your Merry Christmas Season!  

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki have been married for over 50 years. They are the parents of eight children and thirty grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

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