The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever…Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 2 John 1.1-2;12
Word of Hope
In this second letter, the writer identified as John is sending a message to “the elect lady” and her children. I think it is safe to presume that this refers to a woman of authority in her local group who did not “go home”.
But I have chosen to pick out the first and last parts of the letter because they spoke to me about relationships among believers. In the first part, John says that he loves this woman and her children as do all in whom the truth abides. This is the community of believers; all who know the truth of the Christ. Even though they may not be face to face, they are connected by love in the truth of Jesus. Today we might call this “the church”.
Later, John says that complete joy will come when those who know the truth are together. This harkens back to Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
In our modern world, paper and ink are greatly diminished in use. We have more electronic means of communicating than we can track. Facebook, WhatsAp, Messenger, Facetime, Instagram, etc. all give us ways of communicating which, because of their immediacy, give us a feeling of connectedness that makes us feel much closer than perhaps we are. I recently reconnected with an old high school friend who I had not seen in over 40 years after his parents moved away our Junior year. As he was across country, I never did get to talk with him face to face. He passed away from cancer last August. So while I was happy to communicate with him there was not that complete joy John references.
I began to see why Sunday church, small groups, Reflect, and Pulse are so important to us. They bring us complete joy to see each other face to face. We talk over the phone, text, message, share electronically; even use paper and ink. But none of that compares to the joy of talking face to face.
God of truth, God of love, God of complete Joy, bring us together in heart and face to face, and be with us always. We give thanks for Your love for all who love us and those we love.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare