A Lent Reflection for Monday, March 13th
By Rev. Alicia Vela Anderson
Lectionary reading: Psalm 81; Genesis 24:1-27; 2 John 1:1-13
Selected passage: 2 John 1:1-13
2 John 1:1-13 CEB
From the elder.
To the chosen gentlewoman and her children, whom I truly love (and I am not the only one, but also all who know the truth), because of the truth that remains with us and will be with us forever.
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, will be ours who live in truth and love.
I was overjoyed to find some of your children living in the truth, just as we had been commanded by the Father. Now, dear friends, I am requesting that we love each other. It’s not as though I’m writing a new command to you, but it’s one we have had from the beginning. This is love: that we live according to his commands. This is the command that you heard from the beginning: live in love.
Many deceivers have gone into the world who do not confess that Jesus Christ came as a human being. This kind of person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves so that you don’t lose what we’ve worked for but instead receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not continue in the teaching about Christ does not have God. Whoever continues in this teaching has both the Father and the Son. Whoever comes to you who does not affirm this teaching should neither be received nor welcomed into your home, because welcoming people like that is the same thing as sharing in their evil actions.
I have a lot to tell you. I don’t want to use paper and ink, but I hope to visit you and talk with you face-to-face, so that our joy can be complete. Your chosen sister’s children greet you.
There’s a box in my basement that’s filled to the brim. I bought the box at the Container Store because I wanted something fancy to keep some of my most prized possessions. I wanted it to be durable but also stylish so that I could have it out, always within reach for the days I need it.
Inside the box are papers, cards, and notes. Simple reminders of moments in my life - big and small, written by mentors, former students, my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces, and my goddaughter. I treasure these frozen memories and pull them out when my life has become too hectic or I need to remember the song of my heart. Whenever I pull them out and read them, I give thanks to God for the people who took the time out of their lives to write these notes.
This letter from John reminds me of that box of letters. It’s a short little note of encouragement and warning. Its salutation brings to mind pictures of well loved women within the community of believers. John expresses his love for these women and their children and makes a point to mention that he’s not the only one. He speaks to these women and their children, reminding them that for as long as they’ve existed as followers of God, the command to love has been the same.
Even in light of false witnesses around them, those who may want to pull them from the light of Christ - those who are tempting them to forget about loving every single person who comes across their path. John gives them the reminder, the nudge from Jesus, to not let those kinds of people take root in their lives.
John ends his little letter with the promise to see them soon, face to face, in order to tell them all the things he’s holding onto, as well as a greeting from their chosen family. Thirteen short verses filled with mutual love and respect. I can imagine the women reading this lovely little letter, keeping it to reread when they are feeling discouraged. Much like my own box of letters.
Today, as a lenten practice, hand write a note of encouragement to a chosen sister or brother. Write them something you love about them whether it’s something small and subtle, or a big way in which they show up in your life.
Gracious God, thank you for our chosen family. Thank you for the people you’ve placed in our lives to sing the songs of our hearts over us when we’ve forgotten how they go. Thank you for the ways we get to share this journey with people and for the privilege it is to love your beloved creation.
About the Author
Rev. Alicia Vela Anderson spends her days teaching 7th graders about the life of Jesus and creating experiences for middle schoolers to grow deeper in Christ and in community, to discover who they are created to be, and be challenged academically. You can find her on social media @aliciavelaanderson