First John is one of those books!
Let me just say that this is a book found in the Christian Scriptures. I’m learning that most people around me have not been brought up to recognize the books of the Bible – as I am somewhat ignorant of the Kuran or of the rabbinical books of the Jewish faith.
Probably my first real push into the book came in a time when I was travelling full time in a singing group. Each week we had a time of concentrated study together (we call these devotional times). Our leader had picked up a book that smelled new, with grapes on the front and published by “Benson”. Funny how certain details stick out.
Inside was a commentary on First John. Now, 40 years ago, most commentaries were dry reads. You had to really focus because the writing was academic and often unrelated to life.
This book/commentary was open and fun and storytelling. While I can’t remember much of the actual wording, I do remember that the thrust was to live together in harmony – both before God and before other people.
So, as I was looking for a sermon series, one of the reasons I turned to First John was that very theme. We are all surrounded by other people and God is always present. We are always going to have to work at working/playing/loving/living together.
Now, 40 years later, I’d like to go back and dig a little deeper. Perhaps something old and something new will make for a good combination!