Aloha Friday Message – April 13, 2012 – John and the Chosen Lady

1215AFC041312 A Lady chosen for Truth and Love

Catholic Letter Series

Read it online here.

Aloha nui loa, Beloved. Today we continue our studies of the catholic (i.e., universal) epistles. Today’s epistle is really short! It’s only 13 verses. I’d say it would take you less than two minutes to read the whole letter. Use the link in this paragraph to go to a website where you can actually read the letter.

This second letter by John was written not too long after the first letter, the one we looked at last week. In the letter John refers to himself as the Elder, or the Presbyter. Since this was possibly written sometime in the early 90’s – 90-95 A.D. – It’s possible he was around 100 years old then. During that era, living to be 70 was quite a feat, so John definitely had earned the title, “Elder.” It could also refer to his position in the church as someone who is responsible for the governance and upkeep of a church.

It is addressed to Electa Kyria – “a chosen lady” is one translation – and her children. It can also be translated as Lady Electa, with Lady as a title and Electa as a given-name, and therefore her children would be her offspring. Both Electa (chosen) and Kyria (lady, matron) were known to have been used as a proper name for a woman. The term Electa was applied to “all” Christians during this time period, so it could also mean simply “the elect” or “the chosen.” Some commentators say that the chosen lady to whom this letter is addressed is a real person, a well-respected, possibly wealthy woman who has a lot of influence in her community and apparently had other Christians coming to her house to meet as a church-body of Christians. Other scholars believe that Electa Kyria refers to the church in Jerusalem; “her children” then would be the members of that church.

John repeatedly uses the words truth and love in this short letter. The opening clause is “To the elect lady and her children whom I love in truth…” In our modern English we would say “whom I truly do love…” He makes quite a point of stating that Electa Kyria, John, and everyone who knows The Truth (Gospel) will know God’s grace, mercy, and peace in love and in truth. This letter is not as formal as 1 John, and certainly not as well developed as a exposition of theological standards. It’s just a nice, simple, rather personal letter to someone John respects and admires a great deal, someone he knows well. He’s addressing a couple of problems in a church which meets where this person lives. Electa Kyria has been too generous, he indicates, with hospitality for persons who should be shunned, left out of the church, because what they bring into the church is dissent and heresy.

He goes on to encourage Electa Kyria to remember Christ’s commandments to love one another and that love is expressed and confirmed by living in Christ’s commandments, following his teachings, and staying true to the Apostolic Traditions. There were a few “Christian progressives” circulating throughout the church at that time, and – as we saw in First John – some of the heresies that were preached by these traveling preachers were way off-base. John clearly and bluntly labels these deceivers as the antichrist. They were taking scraps of the Apostolic faith and weaving them into fantastic “spiritualized” fables – based on their own internal “revelations” – scams and schemes for riches, fame, and stardom. That was diametrically opposed to the teaching of Christ as conveyed by the Apostles. The bogus preachers claimed that Christ was not really a human, or that he didn’t really die on the cross, and these ideas weakened the faith of people who fell for their stories.

The point of this letter is to warn Electa Kyria – whether she be a church or a much-loved woman – of the dangers of the false teaching that have recently cropped up among its/her church meetings. There were itinerant preachers who went town to town telling the story of Jesus – what we today call the Gospel. The problem was that the Gospel was being distorted. There were people saying that Christ did not really come in the flesh, that he was not really a human being, but a spirit who had learned to take on the appearance of being human.

John warns Electa Kyria that only love and truth abide in those who truly know the Lord because only in Christ Jesus are Love and Truth brought to perfection. However, this letter is written about some very practical matters – disruptions in the church which are introduced into the church by people with dishonest motives and flat-out erroneous teaching. This is because All Truth and All Love come together in Christ. We could extend last week’s expression of identity (the one with the signs) to say this: LIGHT ≡ GOD ≡ LOVE ≡ TRUTH ≡ WAY ≡ LIFE

Whether addressed to a person or to a church, the impact of the letter is the same. John is encouraging the letter’s recipient to continue to serve God in and through truth, love, and joy. However, that does not mean that she should always just open her doors to everyone who wants in. John warns that at times we need to be cautious about the degree and range of hospitality we offer. John says that when someone comes into the Christian Community with a message that is contrary to the Gospel, we should not welcome their message or tolerate their presence. He says we should deny hospitality to people who were so “progressive” that they ended up denying the divinity and humanity of Christ, and therefore do not have God in them. Whoever follows and keeps Christ’s teachings faithfully, has not only God the Father, but also God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He says of these people, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [the Apostolic Faith], do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works. That sounds pretty harsh in light of our 21st Century Political Correctness – where common sense converts to nonsense; but, it’s great advice even in this day and age.

It may be that this letter was so short because John was planning to go visit Electa Kyria in person (see verse 12), or it may be short because he limited himself to writing on a single sheet of papyrus. John encourages Electa Kyria – and us as well – to love our brothers and sisters in Christ with careful discernment guided by love and truth; we are to support and uphold only that which is true, and to do so without regard to the cost. He basically says we have to walk the talk – live the Gospel in actions, not just in written or spoken words. Agape Love never contradicts the scriptures, and never compromises the values and ideal of The Christian Life. This sure knowledge of what we believe must be rooted in studying and meditating on the Scripture, in being aware of the doctrines and traditions of our faith, and in the Apostolic Faith handed down to us over the centuries. That will ensure that we are sufficiently prepared in our faith to be able to resist those tantalizing “progressive” ideas that turn the Power of God into a gimmicky bundle of superstitious rubbish.

Share-A-Prayer

Please continue to pray for all the folks who are looking for meaningful, stable, financially supportive work. Among them MBN members CC, TH, DO, and RM.

We also pray for those who are working, but still struggling to make ends meet – pay the mortgage; pay for gas, food, and medicine; keep a roof over their heads such as BC, PH, RB, and others.

We’ve got a male infant here, just under a year old – EL – who’s just having a terrible time with respiratory problems – asthma, infections, fevers. Mom and dad are spending many hours in the ER and staying up nights at home with the nebulizer running. Pray for complete cure for these respiratory ailments. He’s a good little boy, and we want to see him grow up.

A request from the family of DM to pray for reconciliation with God and with family members: It’s time to let go of old hurts and make room for forgiveness and growth. Pray for all the families that are divided by betrayal, abuse, drugs, arrogance, violence, poverty, and ignorance. There’s plenty of them out there!

And Beloved, remember to love each other, to pray for, with, and about each other and to share the truth with each other. You may not know another person in your neighborhood who is in the MBN, but all the MBN members should be praying for, with, and about you. An if you don’t have an MBN member close by … recruit one.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

Why? Because I love you, and that’s the truth.

chick

1215AFC041312 A Lady chosen for Truth and Love

Aloha nui loa, Beloved. Today we continue our studies of the catholic (i.e., universal) epistles. Today’s epistle is really short! It’s only 13 verses. I’d say it would take you less than two minutes to read the whole letter. Use the link in this paragraph to go to a website where you can actually read the letter.

This second letter by John was written not too long after the first letter, the one we looked at last week. In the letter John refers to himself as the Elder, or the Presbyter. Since this was possibly written sometime in the early 90’s – 90-95 A.D. – It’s possible he was around 100 years old then. During that era, living to be 70 was quite a feat, so John definitely had earned the title, “Elder.” It could also refer to his position in the church as someone who is responsible for the governance and upkeep of a church.

It is addressed to Electa Kyria – a chosen lady is one translation – and her children. It can also be translated as Lady Electa, with Lady as a title and Electa as a given-name, and therefore her children would be her offspring. Both Electa (chosen) and Kyria (lady, matron) were known to have been used as a proper name for a woman. The term Electa was applied to “all” Christians during this time period, so it could also mean simply “the elect” or “the chosen.” Some commentators say that the chosen lady to whom this letter is addressed is a real person, a well-respected, possibly wealthy woman who has a lot of influence in her community and apparently had other Christians coming to her house to meet as a church-body of Christians. Other scholars believe that Electa Kyria refers to the church in Jerusalem; “her children” then would be the members of that church.

John repeatedly uses the words truth and love in this short letter. The opening clause is “To the elect lady and her children whom I love in truth…” In our modern English we would say “whom I truly do love…” He makes quite a point of stating that Electa Kyria, John, and everyone who knows The Truth (Gospel) will know God’s grace, mercy, and peace in love and in truth. This letter is not as formal as 1 John, and certainly not as well developed as a exposition of theological standards. It’s just a nice, simple, rather personal letter to someone John respects and admires a great deal, someone he knows well. He’s addressing a couple of problems in a church which meets where this person lives. Electa Kyria has been too generous, he indicates, with hospitality for persons who should be shunned, left out of the church, because what they bring into the church is dissent and heresy.

He goes on to encourage Electa Kyria to remember Christ’s commandments to love one another and that love is expressed and confirmed by living in Christ’s commandments, following his teachings, and staying true to the Apostolic Traditions. There were a few “Christian progressives” circulating throughout the church at that time, and – as we saw in First John – some of the heresies that were preached by these traveling preachers were way off-base. John clearly and bluntly labels these deceivers as the antichrist. They were taking scraps of the Apostolic faith and weaving them into fantastic “spiritualized” fables – based on their own internal revelations – scams and schemes for riches, fame, and stardom. That was diametrically opposed to the teaching of Christ as conveyed by the Apostles. The bogus preachers clamed that Christ was not really a human, or that he didn’t really die on the cross, and these ideas weakened the faith of people who fell for their stories.

The point of this letter is to warn Electa Kyria – whether she be a church or a much-loved woman – of the dangers of the false teaching that have recently cropped up among its/her church meetings. There were itinerant preachers who went town to town telling the story of Jesus – what we today call the Gospel. The problem was that the Gospel was being distorted. There were people saying that Christ did not really come in the flesh, that he was not really a human being, but a spirit who had learned to take on the appearance of being human.

John warns Electa Kyria that only love and truth abide in those who truly know the Lord because only in Christ Jesus are Love and Truth brought to perfection. However, this letter is written about some very practical matters – disruptions in the church which are introduced into the church by people with dishonest motives and flat-out erroneous teaching. This is because All Truth and All Love come together in Christ. We could extend last week’s expression of identity (the one with the signs) to say this: LIGHT ≡ GOD ≡ LOVE ≡ TRUTH ≡ WAY ≡ LIFE

Whether addressed to a person or to a church, the impact of the letter is the same. John is encouraging the letter’s recipient to continue to serve God in and through truth, love, and joy. However, that does not mean that she should always just open her doors to everyone who wants in. John warns that at times we need to be cautious about the degree and range of hospitality we offer. John says that when someone comes into the Christian Community with a message that is contrary to the Gospel, we should not welcome their message or tolerate their presence. He says we should deny hospitality to people who were so “progressive” that they ended up denying the divinity and humanity of Christ, and therefore do not have God in them. Whoever follows and keeps Christ’s teachings faithfully, has not only God the Father, but also God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He says of these people, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [the Apostolic Faith], do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works. That sounds pretty harsh in light of our 21st Century Political Correctness – where common sense converts to nonsense; but, it’s great advice even in this day and age.

It may be that this letter was so short because John was planning to go visit Electa Kyria in person (see verse 12), or it may be short because he limited himself to writing on a single sheet of papyrus. John encourages Electa Kyria – and us as well – to love our brothers and sisters in Christ with careful discernment guided by love and truth; we are to support and uphold only that which is true, and to do so without regard to the cost. He basically says we have to walk the talk – live the Gospel in actions, not just in written or spoken words. Agape Loved never contradicts the scriptures, and never compromises the values and ideal of The Christian Life. This sure knowledge of what we believe must be rooted in studying and meditating on the Scripture, in being aware of the doctrines and traditions of our faith, and in the Apostolic Faith handed down to us over the centuries. That will ensure that we are sufficiently prepared in our faith to be able to resist those tantalizing “progressive” ideas that turn the Power of God into a gimmicky bundle of superstitious rubbish.

Share-A-Prayer

Please continue to pray for all the folks who are looking for meaningful, stable, financially supportive work. Among them MBN members CC, TH, DO, and RM.

We also pray for those who are working, but still struggling to make ends meet – pay the mortgage; pay for gas, food, and medicine; keep a roof over their heads such as BC, PH, RB, and others.

We’ve got a male infant here, just under a year old – EL – who’s just having a terrible time with respiratory problems – asthma, infections, fevers. Mom and dad are spending many hours in the ER and staying up nights at home with the nebulizer running. Pray for complete cure for these respiratory ailments. He’s a good little boy, and we want to see him grow up.

A request from the family of DM to pray for reconciliation with God and with family members: It’s time to let go of old hurts and make room for forgiveness and growth. Pray for all the families that are divided by betrayal, abuse, drugs, arrogance, violence, poverty, and ignorance. There’s plenty of them out there!

And Beloved, remember tor love each other and to pray for each other and to share the truth with each other. You may not know another person in your neighborhood who is in the MBN, but all the MBN members should be praying for, with, and about you. An if you don’t have an MBN member close by … recruit one.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

Why? Because I love you, and that’s the truth.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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