2 1-2 I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s.
2-3 Here’s how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments.
4-6 If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words. But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.1 John 2:1-6 (MSG)
… to guide you out of sin …
I use a GPS. I use a GPS all the time. No, it is not my cell phone. It is a free standing, dedicated device for only the purpose of finding my way. I know – I am old and have one foot in the grave of irrelevancy.
My wife on the other hand has a new iPhone with all the bells, whistles and apps. She uses it to email, text, check Facebook. She uses it for many other non productive purposes (pinterest, instagram, etc.). But she never uses her phone’s GPS. She knows it is there. She just doesn’t use it. She says, “Why should I use it when I can call you and you’ll tell me which turn to take?” She maintains that Siri may be sexy but Siri doesn’t understand her like I do.
Recently she called me when driving back from a retreat in the deep piney woods of East Texas. She had heard from another retreat participant that the highway she was taking home was full of construction. She asked me if I knew another route. I bit my tongue while tasting the warm blood and said a nonverbal, uh-huh. I gave her instructions on how to avoid the construction. Ten minutes later she called to say there was a wreck on the new highway and she wasn’t sure whether to stay on that road or ask me for a third route. I smiled and said graciously, while looking at my screen – the traffic back up is less than 3 miles — stay on this route.
The author of 1,2,and 3 John says “I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus.” In today’s digital age we have moved beyond the need for giving directions to those who might visit us. We link to the google map on our website we text GPS links to our friends. For some of us we can check through the wonders of the internet and see where family members are and estimate the time of their arrival. But in the days of the early church one still needed a guide. Jesus is the guide. Jesus has been there. He has stood on the highest pinnacle of the temple and been enticed to change sides. He has been hungry in the desert and chosen to leave the stones where they lie. Jesus is our guide. Jesus is our Priest-Friend as Peterson’s The Message translation describes it.
Who is your guide? Do you trust the bits and bytes of Siri for your guidance? Or do you lean not on your own understanding but in every way trust God for the way home? Lent is a season of finding your way, tracing your stays, walking out of sin and into the light of the Righteous One – Jesus Christ.
Rev. Dr. Peter Cammarano
Peter is the Senior Pastor of Chappelwood UMC in Lake Jackson, Texas. He is a Youthworker and helps teach and train other Youthworkers through SPARK Youth Ministry Conference offering The Birkman Assessment to the graduate students.