April 17, 2015
by Ryan Shrauner
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)
Year after year I am struck by how industrious our churches have become at seasons of preparation (Advent, Lent) and how wretched they are at seasons of realization (Christmastide and Eastertide). How easily we embrace the one and neglect the other. How quick we are to fast and how reticent we are to feast. Why can we not abide abiding, resting in the joy of what God has done for us?
Children are always growing. By far, the most common thing family, friends, and acquaintances say to my son is some variation about how big he is. He has often been accused of “growing overnight” (although there is next to no solid data to validate this claim). Maybe this is one way of conceiving of us as children of God; while we like to think of ourselves as all grown up, in reality we are God’s children now, still growing: “what we will be has not yet been revealed.”
Perhaps the reason we are restless and un-abiding is that we are unable (and unwilling) to sit still for very long. Perhaps we buck against the celebratory seasons of the church like Easter and Christmas because we sense deeply that we are unfinished, even in the light of Jesus’ Incarnation and Resurrection. Perhaps we sense that there is much purification to be done to live into the hope that we share.
The only imperative in this reading to “[s]ee what love the Father has give us”. All the rest is description. This may be a most difficult thing for us who are fidgety children.
Practice seeing the love that has been given to you. Name the love present in your life now, and cultivate a practice of naming this love in prayer and thanksgiving. It will serve you well when he is revealed and we will be like him.