I admit that I had a hard time coming up with something to say about this morning’s texts.  We all know and love John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”  People make signs that say John 3:16 at sporting and other events in order to preach the gospel to those who may be curious or perhaps have never been exposed to Jesus.  And I think this one sentence of Scripture is important and well beloved for good reason.  It is certainly a go to for me when I am trying to drive home the point of just how radical the love of God is.  This text is certainly a good start to a conversation about who Jesus is, and about his relationship to the Father.

John’s whole gospel it seems to me is concerned with the relationship between the Father and Jesus; Jesus who is the Word made flesh, is the only son of the Father, co equal and existing before time and forever.  If I go too much further I might mess this up, so I will go in a different direction!

As I read and reread our passages for this morning, it occurred to me that if we stop at the 16th verse, we are somewhat left off the hook if you will, as if there is nothing more to our life in God than God giving of himself through the life of the Word made flesh, Jesus… And, to be fair, there is nothing that we can do to earn our salvation; it is given to us freely by a God who loves us more than we can ask or imagine.

What comes next seems to indicate that what we do matters, and that if we truly believe in God, that the deeds that we do are done in the light and in God.

So often I think Christians get so involved in the promise of eternal life, that we forget that the kingdom of God began and continues on earth.  The birth of Jesus brought the covenant that God made with God’s people to a new and different place, set firmly in flesh and life here on earth.  For me that means that we have to actually live into the covenant – we have to live our lives as if we believe Jesus is the Son of God.  He didn’t just come to earth, wave a magic wand and say “ all is well, go about your day”.  If it had been that easy, he wouldn’t have been murdered by the empire.  He came to earth as one of us, and as such lived a life that looked like ours with joy and with suffering in order that we might be joined to him in his death and resurrection.  That has consequences.  When we think about what Jesus did and continues to do for us, whenever we come to the altar to receive his body and blood in communion… we ought to be in complete awe, and be filled with both fear and gratitude.  Why fear?  Because coming in contact with the living God might change us.  I am personally not a huge fan of change; and yet each and every time I encounter Jesus at the altar or in another of his children, I risk being asked to change in some way.  We might be asked to walk in the ways that Jesus walked… and if that’s so, we might also be asked to carry the cross to Golgatha as he did.  What we do matters; as disciples, our deeds should be done in the light and be filled with light because of the love God has shown us.  Disciples are called to do the things that Jesus did – because he continues to do them through us… he saw the people that no one wanted to see; he touched the untouchable, fed the hungry, healed the sick… if we are limiting our life as disciples to Sunday worship and our hopes for eternal life, it’s not enough.  God’s kingdom is to be realized on earth as it is in heaven… we are to love the world, this world, as much as Jesus does.  God so loved the world that he gave a Son… the only son… I wonder what Jesus is asking us to give?