"Light came into the world ...
whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that their works may be clearly seen as done in God. "

Today's Gospel uses light images to discuss good and evil and the saving power of Christ. It has some pretty heavy imagery, as well as the line made famous by sign-holding-football-fans everywhere. Isn't it interesting that the signs always say "John 3:16." What if someone held up "John 3:17" instead?

"God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him."

That message might come as a surprise to many. Our God is a loving God, not a condemning God. And yet, our Christian faith is so often portrayed (and lived) as one of judgment and condemnation of our neighbors. And while evil and imperfections and contradictions and hypocrisy are more readily seen in the light, the light of Christ is warmth and love. God knows, and God loves. God loves us so much in fact that we are invited into the light.

Of course I recognize that the next line says whoever does not believe has already been condemned. But I return to the story of the prodigal son. God is always inviting us back, giving us a second, third, 2,000th chance. Inviting us into the light. Always forgiving. Always loving.


AC said...

Someone once told me that there is a group of people who's ministry is to hold up John 3:16 signs up at events televised. Not sure if its true or not. I wonder if people ever go and look up that verse when they see it on tv. If i didnt already know, I would want to look it up..

Paula said...

Whoever does not believe has already been condemned...by himself/herself, I would say.